Opposition Letter to LA County Ordinance 41.18

What is LA County’s Ordinance Section 41.18?

Ordinance Section 41.18 of the Los Angeles Municipal Code to specify the particular times and locations where it shall be unlawful for a person to sit, lie, or sleep, or to store, use, maintain, or place personal property in the public right-of way.

The proposed ordinance

Map Detailing the affected area

The Hollywood Homeless Youth Partnership Opposition

The Hollywood Homeless Youth Partnership expresses profound concerns about the potential consequences of legislation (referred to as 41.18) that grants the city authority to prohibit sitting, sleeping, and lying within specific zones. These zones encompass areas near freeways, certain facilities, and new housing initiatives, and criminalize property storage within these zones.

The partnership, comprising agencies aiding homeless youth, fears that such legislation would severely affect the youth they assist for the following reasons:

  1. Unsheltered Youth Impact: A significant portion of homeless youth (55% in LAHSA’s 2020 count) remain unsheltered, often relying on services provided by the coalition.
  2. Housing Shortage: Adequate housing, particularly tailored to youth’s specific needs, is lacking, with a stark imbalance between available beds and demand.
  3. Criminalization Concerns: The coalition worries that this legislation could lead to the criminalization of homeless youth, disproportionately affecting Black, Latinx, and LGBTQ+ individuals and perpetuating lifelong negative impacts.
  4. Law Enforcement Referrals: Enlisting law enforcement for homelessness referrals could strain already tense youth law enforcement relationships and contradict evidence-based practices.
  5. Hidden Population: The legislation could drive homeless youth further into hiding, complicating efforts to accurately assess their numbers and needs during the pandemic.
  6. Resource Burden: The legislation might increase service provider burdens by compelling them to replace confiscated belongings, manage additional legal issues, and support youth with unmet needs.

The partnership strongly believes that this legislation could reinforce the criminalization of homeless youth, exacerbate disparities faced by marginalized groups, and worsen existing barriers, especially during a year marked by the COVID-19 pandemic and racial justice movements. The coalition calls for a thoughtful reconsideration of the legislation’s potential implications.

Read the full opposition letter [here].