Why L.A.’s ban on homeless encampments near schools, day care has become heated election issue
On any given day, more than a dozen homeless people live by the side of the road near the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, in the Arts and Industries district. In fact, the whole Arts and Industries neighborhood has been made up entirely of homeless people.
If you go down the block, past art galleries and bookstores and the Museum of Contemporary Art and the L.A. County Museum of Art, all but one is occupied by those same people. If you walk down the other side of the Arts and Industries district, past the high schools of the Los Angeles Unified School District and the nearby Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, and past a bunch of businesses on Rodeo Drive — most of them, like many other areas in Los Angeles like the Arts and Industries district, made up entirely of homeless people — you can’t miss them.
They live in a line, stretching about a block away — most of them just sleeping in sleeping bags or lean-tos and sleeping bags — some with tents set up on the sidewalk. There’s no reason to guess where they sleep, except that there’s almost always a lot of people there to gawk at them.
We’ve had a lot of comments from people who have just watched the homeless camping out in the middle of the morning traffic along a major street in one of the most expensive cities in the world, sometimes with their dogs and sometimes without. And we’ve had comments from people who say that they have been called every foul name in the book to try to get them to move.
What has not been clear, though, is what is behind this decision to ban homeless camps along major thoroughfares, and why some people can’t find a way to sleep — or even a tent — under the stars, in the middle of a