Echo Park homeless encampment under 101 Freeway at Alvarado

Echo Park homeless encampment under the 101 Freeway at Alvarado

Councilman Mitch O'Farrell wasted no time.

On Tuesday O'Farrell introduced a resolution that would enforce the city's new anti-camping ordinance within 500 feet of 17 locations -- from Echo Park and Silver Lake underpasses as well as Barnsdall Art Park -- in Council  District 13. O'Farrell acted on the same day that the City Council adopted procedures to implement and enforce the ban on encampments and sleeping on sidewalks and other public places.

All of the locations selected by O'Farrell are either at underpasses or are designated "sensitive use" sites as defined by the updated ordinance. These are sites where city staff and outreach workers have previously offered unhoused residents shelter, housing, services, meals "dozens and dozens of times," said O'Farrell in a statement.

"People experiencing homelessness belong indoors in safe, secure, managed environments," O'Farrell said. "There is nothing compassionate about enabling unhoused individuals to live or die in squalor on City sidewalks."

O'Farrell's resolution, if approved by the City Council, would designate the following areas for enforcement:

Within 500 feet of the underpass at Silver Lake and Sunset boulevards;

 Within 500 feet of Clifford Street Elementary School, 2150 Duane St.;

 Within 500 feet of the underpass at Myra and Fountain avenues;

 Within 500 feet of the underpass and Camino Nuevo Charter Academy at Hoover and John streets,

 Within 500 feet of the underpass at Vendome Street and the Hollywood (101) Freeway;

 At and within 500 feet of Barnsdall Art Park, 4800 Hollywood Blvd.;

 Within 500 feet of Las Palmas Senior Citizen Center, 1820 N. Las Palmas Ave.;

 Within 500 feet of the Hollywood Recreation Center, 1122 Cole Ave.;

 Within 500 feet of Vine Street Elementary School, 955 N. Vine St.

 At and within 500 feet of Madison West Park, 464 N. Madison Ave.;

 Within 500 feet of the underpass at Alvarado Street and the Hollywood Freeway;

 Within 500 feet of Angelica's Daycare, 6122 De Longpre Ave.;

 Within 500 feet of the underpass at Bronson Avenue and the Hollywood Freeway;

 Within 500 feet of the underpass at Sunset Boulevard and the Hollywood Freeway; and

 Within 500 feet of the underpass at Verdugo Boulevard and the Glendale (2) Freeway.

O'Farrell's proposal met with criticism from advocates of the homeless and candidates who will be running against him in next year's election. 

"If O’Farrell thinks he can move our unhoused neighbors out of sight before his re-election to convince us he has solved homelessness in our district, he’s wrong," Kate Pynoos, a former policy adviser to Councilman Mike Bonin, posted on social media. "Our community doesn’t want to simply not see the problem—we want to solve the problem." 

The law modifies an existing ordinance to prohibit encampments within 500 feet of a "sensitive" facility -- such as schools, parks and libraries -- as well as underpasses, pedestrian bridges and railroad tracks. 

However, the City Council must passes a resolution to designate a specific area for enforcement, posts signage and gives notice of the date that the ordinance will be enforced for the area.

The ordinance went into effect on Sept. 3, but enforcement was limited to a limited number of cases pending the city's approval of detailed procedures, referred to as a street engagement strategy.

Under the engagement framework, which was approved Tuesday 14-0, each council office will have its own engagement teams to deploy to areas chosen for the ordinance's enforcement. The teams will assess the encampments, determine how long engagement will take place, collaborate with city and county departments, as well as nonprofit organizations, and connect encampment residents with services and interim and permanent housing placements.

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