For Immediate Release: August 2, 2022

LOS ANGELES — Today, Councilmember Nithya Raman voted in opposition of a proposed amendment to LAMC 41.18, and issued the following statement in Council Chambers: 

Today, I want to reiterate what I’ve said time and again on this Council floor, for anyone who might be tuning in for the first time. I’m the parent of six year old twins. I want them to be safe; It’s something I think about every single day. I also feel very strongly that, as a body, we need to be making effective policy here. We have to stop lying to our constituents; we have to stop making promises that the city simply cannot deliver on. We cannot pretend to parents, who are desperate for change in Los Angeles, that we can snap our fingers, pass a law, and end homelessness in LA by making it illegal to be homeless in various areas across the city.

In fact, we now have a year of experience on over 100 sites since the earlier version of the anti-camping ordinance was passed. In the majority of those encampments located in prohibited zones, what we’ve seen is that they haven’t moved at all, or they’ve simply moved 500 feet down the street. Neither of those outcomes create a safer environment for students in our schools.

We need to work towards real solutions backed by real resources that will result in a lasting change on our streets. And the thing that’s preventing us from having lasting change on our streets is not the lack of laws dictating where a person can and can’t be homeless in our city – we actually have plenty of those already on the books that were never suspended during COVID – it’s not having the resources that we need to end homelessness in Los Angeles. 

I don’t want to see encampments around schools, or daycares, or anywhere else in LA. Homelessness is a humanitarian crisis. That’s why I want to encourage parents, school officials who are here and testified about these issues: don’t let us off the hook. Don’t let us pretend that we passed this law and suddenly the situation on our streets is going to change. We’ve actually done this for decades here in Los Angeles, and the situation on our streets has only gotten worse. We have to put a system into place where we are building for the first time in LA’s history, the number of shelter beds and housing units that we need in order to address homelessness effectively. This ordinance does not move us closer to that.