The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors have voted in support of Supervisor Kathryn Barger and Supervisor Janice Hahn’s motion that will add Los Angeles County to a growing list of entities that have made appeals to the Supreme Court regarding Johnson v. City of Grants Pass, a Ninth Circuit Court ruling that restricts local government’s ability to enforce encampment clearances as part of their anti-camping ordinances.
“I introduced this motion to add Los Angeles County’s voice to local governments’ calls for long overdue legal reforms,” said Barger. “I want to be clear that this is not an advocacy push for the criminalization of homelessness, but rather a call for comprehensive, compassionate action. This motion encourages the Supreme Court to clarify our state and local governments’ ability to protect and support the rights of our housed and unhoused constituents alike. If local governments are restricted from regulating the presence of encampments on public property, we are left powerless when trying to effectively address our worsening homelessness crisis. This motion advocates for a balanced solution that urges cities to help people access services, shelter and support while also protecting the broader community from the public health and safety issues that stem from encampments.”
“The interpretations of the Martin V. Boise case have tied the hands of cities and counties in imposing commonsense time and place restrictions on some key public spaces to keep people safe and move those who want assistance into shelter,” said Hahn. “We have no interest in or intention to criminalize homelessness. We simply need the clarification about what tools we have to address this crisis and keep people safe.”
Supervisor Holly Mitchell added a friendly amendment that clarified Los Angeles County does not support the criminalization of homelessness prior to casting her vote in favor of the motion, which you can find here.