On her first day in office, Los Angeles City Attorney Hydee Feldstein Soto joined Mayor Karen Bass as she declared a local emergency on homelessness. The City Attorney’s Office provided the legal framework for this declaration, which cuts red tape, facilitates additional resources, and streamlines efforts to bring people inside. The following week, Mayor Bass signed an executive directive launching Inside Safe, the new citywide program offering housing and a commitment of services so that people experiencing homelessness can stay inside for good. In an historic dual declaration, the L.A. County Board of Supervisors also proclaimed a local emergency for homelessness in the County of Los Angeles.
Approximately 42,000 people are unsheltered and sleeping on the streets of the City of Los Angeles on a given night. The Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office has numerous programs, resources and initiatives to assist.
- Homeless Engagement and Response Team (HEART)
HEART runs L.A. Homeless Court, a criminal record clearing program for people who are either experiencing homelessness or are at risk of experiencing homelessness. HEART helps participants resolve L.A. County infraction tickets for minor violations, such as jaywalking, having an open container, or having expired car registration tags (but not parking citations). These tickets are wiped clean in exchange for service engagement with resources or service providers that offer housing, public benefits enrollment, drug treatment, medical care, or job training. By eliminating the collateral consequences of the unpaid fines and fees from these infraction tickets, HEART helps remove barriers to housing, transportation and employment faced by program participants.
HEART is funded with a Measure H grant from the LA County Board of Supervisors and enrolls approximately 1,000 participants each year - oftentimes resolving multiple infraction tickets for each participant. HEART meets its participants at several in-person community events each month. Also, service providers can sign-up participants by email, phone - 213-978-1937, or by going to the HEART website.
For people experiencing homelessness needing help with L.A. City parking citations, visit LADOT's Community Assistance Parking Program.
- Clean Slate
Unresolved misdemeanor cases or warrants may prevent an unhoused person from getting a job or housing. The Los Angeles City Attorney’s "Clean Slate" program aims to solve this issue. With Clean Slate, social service providers identify unhoused clients who have unresolved misdemeanor cases that are under the jurisdiction of the City of Los Angeles. If there are no ongoing public safety issues, a member of the HEART team works with defense counsel to resolve the cases – these resolutions encourage the client to continue working with their service provider to move out of homelessness (e.g., obtaining IDs, attending counseling sessions, applying for housing or a job, etc.). After the client completes this work, the misdemeanor cases are often dismissed. This allows the unhoused client to move into housing or employment with a clean slate.
- Motel Conversions
On April 20th, 2018, Ordinance 185489 became effective and amended Sections 12.03, 14.00 and 151.02 of the LA Municipal Code which established regulations to facilitate the use of existing hotels and motels for Supportive Housing or Transitional Housing for persons experiencing homelessness or those at risk of homelessness. Further, LAMC Section 14.00.A.12 facilitates the interim use of existing transient residential structures, such as Motels, Hotels, Apartment Hotels, Transient Occupancy Residential Structures and Hostels as Supportive Housing or Transitional Housing for persons experiencing homelessness or those at risk of homelessness. All projects must meet the zoning, compliance and performance standards described in the Guidelines For Plan Check and Permit Requirement for Interim Hotel and Motel Conversion Projects, which also provides guidance about the plan check and permitting process. Email Gita O'Neill, Assistant Branch Chief - Housing, Land Use & Real Property Branch, for more information.
- Homeless Patient Dumping
Homeless patient dumping is when a health facility (hospital or skilled nursing facility) releases or discharges a patient, including those experiencing homelessness, onto the streets or to an unlicensed facility (shelter, half-way-house, crisis center) that cannot provide the level care necessary for the patient's recovery. An example is when a wheelchair bound homeless patient with an open leg wound needing a few weeks of recuperative care is instead discharged to the streets where the wound is likely to be become infected, require re-hospitalization and possibly result in an amputation. Current law requires hospitals to work with the patient's family when discussing treatment and discharge, to create an appropriate patient discharge plan and to obtain a signed written informed consent from the patient if the hospital is transporting the patient by hospital van,taxi or bus to any location other than the patient's residence, which does not include the street or a shelter. If you see or suspect homeless patient dumping, call the City Attorney's Office at 213-978-8070.
- Safe Parking Program
The City of L.A.'s Safe Parking Program provides a safe place to park every night while utilizing services for housing. People using this program may qualify for additional programs from the City Attorney's Office, including allowing participants to resolve certain non-traffic citations, cases and warrants by engaging in services, instead of paying fines or fees or facing jail time. To learn more, visit the Safe Parking Program website or call the intake line, Monday through Saturday, 8:30am - 4pm, at 323-210-3375.
- LA DOOR (Diversion, Outreach & Opportunities for Recovery)
LA DOOR is a comprehensive, health-focused, preventative approach to addiction that proactively engages individuals at elevated risk of returning to the City Attorney’s Office on a new misdemeanor offense related to substance use, mental illness, or homelessness. Over 90% of LA DOOR participants are homeless. Rather than waiting to charge new arrests, LA DOOR delivers peer-led, multidisciplinary social services to five hot spot locations - one for each day of the week - to proactively engage participants in substance use treatment, mental health support, medical treatment, and case management – all without asking law enforcement to be the first point of contact. Though most participants are engaged through outreach, LA DOOR also offers diversion on eligible non-violent arrests. Participants who go through LA DOOR diversion can take advantage of LA DOOR services instead of having their arrest processed for charging. To implement LA DOOR, the Office of the City Attorney partners with SSG Project 180 for its outreach and intensive outpatient case management services, West Angeles Community Development Corporation for LA DOOR transitional housing, and the Public Defender’s Office for addressing participants’ legal barriers. Since 2017, LA DOOR has served over 1,500 individuals in South and Central LA. LA DOOR is funded by grants from Proposition 47, the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act. The LA DOOR project is one of several projects created by the City Attorney’s Recidivism Reduction and Drug Diversion Unit.
- Misdemeanor Mental Health Diversion / CARE Court
Understanding that some individuals are better served by mental health services and treatment instead of incarceration, pre-plea diversion under California Assembly Bill 1810 is an innovative approach to dealing with offenders who suffer from mental illness and - in many instances - are experiencing homelessness. The Rapid Diversion Program ("RDP") expedites evaluation for this diversion and connection to treatment. Funded with a grant from the MacArthur Foundation, led by the Los Angeles County Alternatives to Incarceration (ATI) Initiative, and in partnership with many local agencies, RDP is a collaborative effort to efficiently and effectively address the root causes of behavior. In RDP, an LA County Department of Mental Health expert is able to recommend the defendant for pre-plea diversion under this approach. A defendant who complies with the conditions of diversion will have their case dismissed. This approach can yield significant benefits: reducing pretrial incarceration rates for those suffering from mental illness; decreasing costs related to the incarceration of those suffering from mental illness; increasing service linkage rates for justice-involved individuals suffering from mental illness; and ultimately, lowering recidivism rates for those suffering from mental illness. Email Kelly Boyer, Central Operations' Supervisor, for more information.
Senate Bill 1338 established the Community Assistance, Recovery, and Empowerment (CARE) Act, creating CARE Court, a statewide framework to provide individuals with severe mental health and substance use disorders the support and services they need to get healthy. CARE Courts will be operated by Los Angeles County and are civil, not criminal, courts. CARE Court connects a person in crisis with a comprehensive civil court-ordered care plan for up to 12 months, with the possibility of extending it an additional 12 months. The plan is cooperatively developed by behavioral health professionals, the individual and a volunteer supporter and can include a broad range of necessary services including medical, wellness and recovery support, and connection to other social services such as housing. L.A. County is working to implement the CARE Act by December 1, 2023, one year ahead of schedule. Go to California’s Health & Human Services Agency for more information.
- Project LEAD
The L.A. County Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (Project LEAD) program is based on a national model in which individuals with a history of opioid use are connected with harm reduction services through contacts with law enforcement. In L.A. County, it is operated by the Office of Diversion and Reentry (ODR) in partnership with LAPD. ODR has previously implemented Project LEAD in the City of Long Beach and is now implementing a pilot program in the LAPD Hollywood Division. The goal of the program is to place approximately 100 people experiencing homelessness into housing and services over the course of a two year period. The LEAD program will identify candidates for this program through social contacts and pre-arrest contacts with LAPD. LAPD Hollywood has a team of specially trained officers who have relationships with LEAD case managers and are responsible for making the referrals. When an individual is referred through a pre-booking diversion, the City Attorney's local Neighborhood Prosecutor for LAPD Hollywood will be notified. The Neighborhood Prosecutor will then evaluate whether the candidate is eligible. Once admitted into the program, the NP will monitor whether each program candidate has finished the complete assessment intake interview within the 30-day time limit. If the candidate fails to finish the complete assessment intake interview with the case manager within 30 days, the NP will file criminal charges if the case otherwise meets criminal filing standards. Email Ethan Weaver, Neighborhood Prosecutor, for more information.
- Proposition HHH
Proposition HHH Supportive Housing Loan Program (Prop HHH) passed in 2016 and is designed to develop supportive housing for homeless individuals and those at risk of homelessness throughout the City. In 2016, LA voters overwhelmingly voted for a $0.348 per square foot property tax which funds the $1.2 billion dollar bond measure. The program emphasis is on reducing homelessness by creating safe and affordable housing units, and increasing accessibility to a variety of necessary services and treatment programs. Further details and up to date progress on what is being constructed can be found on LA Housing Department's Supportive Housing website.
- Measure H
LA County passed Measure H in 2016 with funding that started July 2017. This measure raised County sales tax by one-quarter (1/4) of a cent with revenues providing services for people experiencing homelessness. The tax applies to all the cities within LA County and is in effect for ten years. LA County’s plan for these funds is detailed on the Homeless Initiative website.
- Measure ULA
Passed by voters in November 2022, Measure ULA adds a 4% tax on property sales (residential and commercial) of more than $5 million, and a 5.5% tax on sales over $10 million. Measure ULA revenue is earmarked for creating affordable housing and preventing more people from falling into homelessness.
- Inside Safe
Launched by Mayor Karen Bass, Inside Safe is the new citywide strategy to bring people inside from tents and encampments for good, and to prevent encampments from returning. Among the goals of this new strategy: reducing loss of life on our streets, increasing access to mental health and substance abuse treatment, eliminating encampments, promoting long-term housing stability, and enhancing the safety and hygiene of neighborhoods for residents and businesses.
- Housing First Model
This offers permanent housing as quickly as possible for people experiencing homelessness, particularly for people with long histories of homelessness and health challenges. Income, sobriety, and/or participation in treatment (or other services) is voluntary and are not required as a condition for housing. The model’s basis is the philosophy that the best chance a person has of not returning to homelessness is to provide housing options as soon as possible, regardless of whether or not any underlying behavioral and/or medical issues have been resolved.
- Coordinated Entry System (CES)
CES is a regionally based system that connects new and existing programs into a “no wrong-door network” by assessing the needs of individuals/families/youth experiencing homelessness. CES then links them with the most appropriate housing and services options to end their homelessness. The goal is to streamline the processes through which communities assess, house, and support housing retention for individuals/families who are experiencing homelessness. CES prioritizes the sickest, most vulnerable homeless people first and gives them priority over others experiencing homelessness. Not all service providers participate in CES.
- Bridge Housing
This is 24 hour emergency shelter to be utilized by eligible homeless individuals as identified through CES. Some service or access to services are provided on site or nearby. The intention of this type of housing is to provide individuals with some stability so that they can more easily maintain contact with their service providers as they are assisted with finding housing.
- Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH)
PSH is long term, community-based housing that has supportive services for homeless persons with disabilities. This type of supportive housing enables the special needs population to live as independently as possible in a permanent setting with supportive services on site. Permanent Housing can be provided in one structure or in several structures at one site or in multiple structures at scattered sites.
- Homeless Encampment
The City of LA defines a homeless encampment as one or more persons living or storing personal property in an unsheltered area.
- Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA)
LAHSA is the lead agency in the LA Continuum of Care, the regional planning body that coordinates housing and services for homeless families and individuals in LA County. LAHSA is a joint powers agreement between the County and the City. In 1993, the LA County Board of Supervisors and the LA Mayor and City Council created LAHSA as an independent, joint powers authority. LAHSA coordinates and manages over $300 million annually in federal, state, county, and city funds for programs that provide shelter, housing, and services to people experiencing homelessness.
- Service Provider Area (SPA)
A SPA is a specific geographic region within LA County which, due to its large size, has been divided into eight geographic areas. These distinct regions allow the LA Department of Public Health to develop and provide more relevant public health and clinical services targeted to the specific health needs of the residents in these different areas.
- Interim Housing
Interim housing provides short-term stays and various services for people experiencing homelessness until they are connected with permanent housing. Interim housing includes shelters, where people can stay up to six months, and transitional housing, where people can stay up to two years.
- Transitional Housing
This is a building where housing which is linked to supportive services is offered, usually for a period of up to 24 months. This timeline facilitates the movement to permanent housing for people with low incomes who may have one or more disabilities, and may include adults, emancipated minors, families with children, elderly people, young adults aging out of foster care, individuals exiting from institutional settings, veterans, and homeless people.
- Supportive Services
These services are provided on a voluntary basis to residents of Supportive Housing and Transitional Housing, including, but not limited to, a combination of subsidized, permanent housing, intensive case management, medical and mental health care, substance abuse treatment, employment services, benefits advocacy, and other services or service referrals necessary to obtain and maintain housing.
The Vulnerability Index–Service Prioritization Decision Assistance Tool (VI-SPDAT) is intended to assess the level of a person’s need, regardless of whether he or she already has a long history of experiencing homelessness. It is used to determine if someone is "high acuity," meaning very sick or in danger of becoming very sick, or "low acuity," meaning not very sick and a low risk of becoming very sick. CES prioritizes those people assessed as high acuity by the VI-SPDAT.
- Operation Healthy Streets (OHS)
OHS was implemented in 2012 as a robust homeless community outreach program designed to provide adequate notice and identify high-risk people in need of services and assistance. The City of LA developed and deployed this program with specialized teams from LA Sanitation (LASAN), the Bureau of Street Services, LAPD, LA Fire Department, and other agencies to effectively reduce the impacts of encampments in the Skid Row area and the Venice Beach area on public health, fire hazard, hazardous materials, and safety.
- Comprehensive Cleaning and Rapid Engagement Program (CARE/CARE+)
On October 1 2019, LA Sanitation’s Livability Services Division launched the Comprehensive Cleaning and Rapid Engagement (CARE/CARE+) program providing teams for immediate, dedicated service deployed regionally. These teams conduct citywide encampment clean-ups along with trash, litter/debris, and health hazard and/or safety hazard removal on the City's public rights-of-way. The primary mission of CARE/CARE+ is to deliver services to the individuals experiencing homelessness within their service areas. CARE+ teams assigned to A Bridge Home Special Enforcement and Cleaning Zones (ABH SECZs) provide full comprehensive cleanings including the identification, documentation, and removal of line-of-sight health and/or safety hazards, the removal of trash, litter, and debris, and the power washing of public rights-of-way to ensure fully sanitized areas for public safety. Additionally, the CARE teams assigned to ABH SECZs provide LAMC 56.11 compliance, spot cleaning services, health hazard and/or safety hazard identification, documentation, and removal, trash, litter, and debris removal.
- How many homeless people are there in LA?
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires that communities receiving federal funds from the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants program conduct a count of all sheltered people in the last week of January annually. This effort is called the Point in Time Count or “PIT” count. During these point-in-time counts, communities are required to identify whether a person is an individual, a member of a family unit, or an unaccompanied youth under the age of 18 or age 18 to 24. In addition, communities must identify if a person is chronically homeless, indicating long-time or repeated homelessness and the presence of a disability.
In the City and County of LA, LAHSA does the PIT count. For 2022, the City of LA had 13,522 sheltered people experiencing homelessness, and 28,458 unsheltered people experiencing homelessness, for a total of 41,980 people experiencing homelessness. This is up 1.7 percent since 2020. An unsheltered homeless person resides in a place not meant for human habitation, such as a car, park, sidewalk, abandoned building, or on the street. A homeless person who is “sheltered” lives in emergency, interim or bridge shelter/housing. For more information, go to LAHSA's 2022 Greater LA Homeless Count Data.
- What about people living in tents on sidewalks near my home? How do I report them?
You can report the tent encampments to 311 if you believe there are unsanitary conditions at the encampment and the City needs to clean up there area. You can also report the encampment location to the LAHSA Homeless Outreach Portal and they will send outreach workers to offer services to the individuals. If you believe there is criminal activity taking place, you can also report the encampment location to your local LAPD station.
- What about people sleeping in their cars?
It is not against the law for anyone to sleep in a parked vehicle during the day or over night.
- What about people living in their cars?
LAMC 85.02 made it an infraction to dwell or live in a vehicle in certain zones in the City. However, this section expired on January 1, 2020 and is no longer enforceable.
- Can I allow people to park on my parking lot to create a "safe parking" lot?
From the June 22, 2017 Planning Department report on the use of existing parking lots for "safe parking" (link to PDF)
During the December 7, 2016 meeting of the Homelessness and Poverty Committee, the Department of City Planning was directed to prepare and present an ordinance to the City Planning Commission to effectuate the establishment of a Safe Parking Pilot Program (SPPP) as part of the City’s Comprehensive Homeless Strategy 6B. The SPPP would allow for overnight parking at pre-determined off-street locations for homeless individuals who currently sleep in their vehicles as a form of shelter, subject to operational guidelines currently in development with LAHSA. The SPPP would offer such individuals a safe area to legally park on an overnight basis, as well as a stable location where outreach teams and case managers can access clients and connect them to services and permanent housing. Hours of operation would vary on a lot-by-lot basis at the discretion of the property owner, with the expectation that participants would vacate privately owned parking lots during normal operating hours (e.g. from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.), or vacate publicly owned parking lots at posted hours in order to allow for the lots’ original intended use. In any case, vehicles must be removed from the premises during the day, as continuous habitation in a vehicle on private or public property is not authorized without additional approvals from the City.
This report outlines the circumstances in which a property owner or tenant could provide overnight access to their existing parking lot for individuals who sleep in their vehicles. This is distinct from operating a shelter for the homeless, for which the regulations in LAMC 12.80, 12.81 and 14.00 A.8 would apply. Under the current regulations, overnight parking is already permitted in certain circumstances. The report also outlines the current procedures that may be utilized should there be existing project conditions that need to be addressed or should a special permit be required.
Applicability of Current Regulations
Property owners must comply with all applicable parking requirements as described in LAMC Section 12.21 A.4 as well as any additional limitations on overnight parking that apply to each respective property (i.e. Commercial Corner Developments, conditions of approval), but otherwise are not restricted from allowing individuals to park their vehicles overnight in on-site parking spaces. Generally, property owners choosing to make their parking facilities available for overnight parking may do so without violating any part of the Zoning Code as long as the parking is not continuous and is only during night time hours. Property owners would still be responsible for ensuring that all nuisance laws are observed, as well as any other applicable Building, Fire, Disabled Access, Health, and Safety Codes.
As referenced above, a property’s parking lot may be used to accommodate some vehicles overnight without violating its previously-approved use, unless site-specific conditions of approval exist. Overnight parking must take place in an existing, permitted parking lot. The property may not be a vacant lot. Furthermore, the Code does not prevent a facility, upon the property owner’s discretion, from opening its doors overnight to allow use of the bathroom and other indoor facilities.
However, if additional services are provided, there may be other existing regulations pertaining to allowable uses that may need to be considered. For example, in cases where temporary structures are utilized on the site of a participating Safe Parking area, the applicant may need to secure a permit from the Department of Building and Safety (LADBS). These permits are available at the Department’s permitting counters located in the Metro, Van Nuys, West Los Angeles, San Pedro and South LA offices. Additional information regarding permits and requirements may be obtained from the LADBS website.
Plan Approval Process for Sites Subject to Conditions of Approval
One possible barrier for sites wishing to provide safe overnight parking would be if the project site is subject to specific conditions of approval as part of a prior planning entitlement which limit overnight use of the site’s parking facilities. For example, a project may have a condition requiring the gates to be closed by a certain time.
In such a scenario, the applicant would need to seek a plan approval to modify the conditions of approval. Los Angeles Municipal Code (LAMC) Section 12.24 M provides that “for any lot or portion of a lot on which a deemed- approved conditional use is permitted pursuant to the provisions of this section, new buildings or structures may be erected, enlargements may be made to existing buildings, and existing uses may be extended on an approved site provided that plans are submitted to and approved by the Zoning Administrator, the Area Planning Commission, or the City Planning Commission, whichever has jurisdiction at the time."
Properties Located in a Commercial Corner Development or Mini-Shopping Center
Properties may be subject to additional limitations on hours of operation if they are located in a Mini-Shopping Center ora Commercial Corner Development as those terms are defined in LAMC Section 12.03, pursuant to LAMC Sections 12.22 A.23 and 12.24 W.27. If a property is subject to these regulations, it would require a conditional use permit in order to operate between the hours of 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. If the property does not already have a conditional use permit for this purpose, it would be required to apply for one following the procedures described in that Section prior to allowing individuals to utilize the parking lot overnight.
When used exclusively on a temporary overnight basis on a publicly or privately owned parking lot, a Recreational Vehicle (RV) would not be restricted by the applicable City and State regulations, unless otherwise stated. The Zoning Code does not differentiate between the use of a vehicle or RV for this purpose, as approvals for RV Parks and Mobilehome Parks are required when the individual parking spaces or RVs are rented or leased to users (LAMC Section 12.03). Thus, property owners may choose to make their parking facilities available for temporary overnight parking for RVs. Property owners may not, however, lease or rent out space in their parking lots to users. Additionally, users may not dwell in their RVs for longer than one day. Just as for a vehicle, RVs would be required to vacate the property during the day, as continuous habitation in a vehicle on private property is not allowed without additional approvals, and would only be allowed in specific zones.
Overnight parking at off-street locations is permitted in certain circumstances. At a property owner’s discretion, parking facilities may be made available for overnight parking for individuals who sleep in their vehicles as a form of shelter. The process for operating a safe parking facility may differ based on individual circumstances, but generally would occur in one of three ways:
- If no plan approval or other entitlement is needed and no additional structures are provided onsite, a property owner may provide overnight parking on-site, subject to any other existing restrictions or existing conditions of approval.
- If a property owner wishes to provide on-site structures and amenities, then a permit may be required from LADBS. Applicants should inquire at a LADBS permitting counter located in the Metro, Van Nuys, West Los Angeles, San Pedro or South LA offices.
- If a plan approval or other entitlement is needed in order to amend prior conditions of approval, an applicant must submit an application to the Department of City Planning. After the plan approval or other entitlement has been secured, the property owner may provide overnight parking on-site.
If you have any questions, email Matthew Glesne of the Citywide Policy Planning Division within the LA City Planning Department.
- Is it legal for homeless people to loiter near my business?
Homeless people can do the same things housed people can do. The Constitution applies to everyone. "Loitering" is a specific intent crime which means a person is waiting or hanging out somewhere for the specific purpose of committing a crime. For example, a person is "loitering" if he or she is standing outside of a business waiting to commit a robbery on a patron coming out. A homeless person can stand outside a business in the same way a housed person can. If the person is committing a crime, then store security or LAPD should be notified.
- What if they are intimidating customers and affecting my business?
A person, whether he/she is housed or unhoused, shall not intimidate customers of a store in an illegal manner. Store security or LAPD should be notified.
- Is it legal for homeless people to panhandle?
There is a First Amendment right for anyone (housed or unhoused) to ask for money, work or other things. There are local laws that ban solicitation in certain areas and also laws that regulate the manner in which the solicitation is asked for meaning it cannot be in an aggressive or physically threatening way.
- What if there is a tent or an encampment on the perimeter of my child’s school?
If there is an encampment on school property, notify the school administrator and security immediately. You can also notify your local LAPD station. If the tent encampment is on City property (sidewalk, parkway, etc.), please see FAQ on how to report a homeless encampment. You can also report an encampment within 500 feet of a school or daycare to your local LAPD station.
- What if homeless people have taken over my local park to such an extent that I can no longer use it?
There are rules that regulate people camping and using park property. You can contact the park director and the park rangers. You can also notify your local LAPD station. However, homeless people can use park property in the same way that housed people can. They are allowed to sleep on the grass, picnic and use the restrooms, etc. while the park is open.
- What if homeless people have taken over my local library?
There are rules for using the library; you can notify your librarian and library security. However, homeless people are allowed to use the library services in the same way that housed people are - reading books, using computers and the restrooms while the library is open.
- What can I do about a homeless person going through my garbage or sleeping in my garage?
It is unlawful to take recyclables from the City’s Blue Recycle Bins or to tamper with a trash can. You can contact your local LAPD division, but LAPD will decide if they have enough personnel to address this infraction. Unless there is some exception, no one is allowed to reside in a garage. If someone is trespassing on your property, you should call LAPD immediately.
- What if I suspect that hospitals, skilled nursing facilities or medical centers are dumping homeless patients in my neighborhood?
Homeless patient dumping occurs when a health care facility’s employees release homeless patients onto the streets instead of placing them with family, in a shelter or keeping them in a healthcare facility even if they require extensive medical care. The City Attorney’s Office created a patient dumping hotline, and we encourage anyone that sees it, or suspects it, to let us know by calling 213-978-8070. You can also call your local LAPD police station.
- What are the rules for when individuals can have a tent up on the sidewalk?
People can have a tent erected on a sidewalk from 9pm to 6am and all day if it is raining or the weather falls below 50 degrees as long as the tent does not violate LAMC 41.18 or LAMC 56.11.
- What if the individual seems threatening or is exhibiting signs of acute mental illness?
If the person is threatening and/or violent, you should call or text 911. LAPD has MEU (Mental Evaluation Unit) and SMART (System-wide Mental Assessment Response Team) that will be dispatched once the situation is rendered safe by uniformed officers. If the person is exhibiting signs of acute mental illness with no violence or threats, then you can call the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health ACCESS number 1-800-854-7771. PMRT (Psychiatrist Mobile Response Team) can be dispatched from that number. Those teams consist of two LA County Department of Mental Health clinicians.
- If a homeless individual needs/wants services, whom do I contact?
Contact LA Homeless Services Authority and make an outreach request.
- It seems that homeless people have more rights than I do. Is this the case?
People experiencing homelessness have the same rights as housed people. Some courts have interpreted the Constitution to ensure that the rights of unhoused people are protected when the courts feel the rights are being illegally impinged upon. Although some people feel that homeless people have more rights or are more protected than housed people, in reality everyone has the same rights and protections under the law, whether housed or unhoused.
- I want to help people experiencing homelessness. Should I give them food and money?
Giving people resources such as food and money can be something that helps a person get through the day and makes the giver feel like they are doing something in the short term. However, the homeless often need something more than money. They need money and direction. For most homeless people, direction means a job and a roof. A Housing and Urban Development study polled people experiencing homelessness people about what they needed most: 42% said help finding a job; 38% said finding housing; 30% said paying rent or utilities; 13% said training or medical care. To help, the best option would be contacting local service providers through the LA Homeless Services Authority and discussing giving options with trained social workers.
- What about the (temporary) homeless shelters that are going to be built in my neighborhood. How do I voice my support, opposition or get additional information?
City leadership launched an initiative to place a temporary shelter in each Council District. These shelter beds would aim to place people currently living on the sidewalks in a community, into a safe shelter run by trained and reputable service providers. Currently, there are not enough shelter beds for each homeless person in the City. More shelter beds are needed to offer those who want shelter as an option. These shelter beds may help the homeless find more permanent housing faster as they provide a stable place for the person to be while waiting for more permanent housing alternatives. Residents should contact their local Councilmember for additional information about a specific site.
- How can I report a homeless encampment?
- How do i find my local LAPD division contact information?
Visit LAPD's website and search by address. In an emergency, call or text 911.