Stop the Criminalization & Dehumanizing of Homeless People in L.A
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A serious issue in LA that should be changed would be the rise in homelessness. There are roughly 39,000 homeless people living in LA, which reflects a 12% increase over the past 2 years. Our demand is to reform the Municipal Code 56.11 that gives police officers the ability to relocate a homeless encampment with only 24-hours notice. Under this ordinance, if homeless people do not comply in time, they can be pushed out by force. Also, officers have the ability to strip homeless people of their belongings if it is a large item such as a mattress or a camping tent. To many of us, these objects are insignificant and cause us not have interested on whether or not they are taken away. However,to these people their property is very important because it can determine whether or not they survive another night on the streets. These people are human beings. They are not trash. No law should give anyone the ability to dehumanize these poor people. Instead of having policies that criminalize the homeless and making them feel invisible to our community. We should help them make their voices heard because we do not know the reason they are in that position.
We demand a change to Municipal Code 56.11. This policy should be amended in three specific ways.
First, police should not take any medicine or important papers from the homeless.
Second, instead of a 24-hour notice, police should use three warning stages.
-Stage 1 is to check if any of them have an illness and if they take any medication
-Stage 2 is give them information on where they can go to homeless shelters.
-Stage 3 try to guide them towards the homeless shelter or give them the alternative to relocate but in a peaceful manner.
Third, they should give enough time to collect their belongings (1-3 hrs) they also should be given weather proof containers for the rest of their belongings.
The policy of relocating homeless encampments with only a 24-hour notice was originally passed in 2015. In a Los Angeles Times article, Mayor Eric Garcetti explained that the city should be cautious with the belongings of homeless people that are being confiscated such as important medications and documents because taking away these items from them is deemed unconstitutional. In 2016 a law was passed that limited the belongings that a homeless person can have to what could fit in a 60 gallon trash bin. However, this modification does not explicitly protect the medication and legal documents of homeless people and might still violate the constitution.
Not only does Ordinance 56.11 fail to protect the vital property of homeless people, it also threatens to punish them for the unavoidable consequences of homelessness. Under this ordinance, homeless people can be arrested on site if they failed to take down their tents to clear sidewalks between the hours of 6 am to 9 pm. This is very concerning because these innocent homeless people are being arrested for very non violent crimes. This diminishes homeless people in the streets, but it's not solving the problem of homelessness in the correct way because it is just incarcerating homeless people.
This is why our demand is to amend Ordinance 56.11 that targets homeless people’s encampments and the confiscation of their belongings. We are not tending to the issue with a clear and modest solution, but instead powering through it with policies that criminalize. We are asking for your support to get this demand through because we are the community and the community should stand together so we can show how much of an influence we can have in decisions that target the most vulnerable people in our community. They are looked upon as problems or criminals, this is why they feel invisible, stop the stereotyping. They are present in our community they are visible but help support this petition so these innocent people's voice can be finally heard.
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