LOS ANGELES, California: During a meeting that was disrupted by protesters this week, the Los Angeles City Council voted to ban homeless encampments within 500 feet of schools and daycare centers.
The vote, which applies to public and private schools, came after an earlier vote failed to pass last month when protesters argued the ban criminalizes homelessness.
The council voted 11-3 to ban sitting, sleeping or camping near daycare centers and schools on a specified list. A second and final vote will still be needed next week.
Los Angeles Unified School District officials told the Los Angeles Times that some 750 public schools and nearly 1,000 commercial day-care businesses are within the city limits, with the next public school year beginning on 15th August.
Along with other U.S. cities, Los Angeles is struggling to deal with rising homelessness and the numerous encampments of homeless people, many suffering from drug addictions or mental illness, scattered around the city, which have sparked public outcry.
Supporters of the ban said the camps are a health and safety risk to children.
Martha Alvarez, who is in charge of government relations for the school district, said the camps "are unsafe and traumatic for students, families and staff as they enter school campuses."
In response, the ban's opponents, including homeless advocates, said the measure would criminalize homelessness.