Recently the City Council advanced an effort to allow some people to legally live out of their cars on our City streets.
I have many problems with this approach, including the idea that as a City we must do better by our residents. We shouldn’t be ok with people living in their cars. We must find a better solution. We also have to make sure that families don’t have to worry about strangers setting up camp on the street right outside a school, park or their homes.
The Council’s actions recently would greatly limit the ability of someone to sleep in his or her car, if they’re anywhere near a school, park or residential area. However, I voted against the effort, because it will have an oversized impact across our district, from Van Nuys and Lake Balboa to Sun Valley and Arleta.
The City’s new approach would allow homeless individuals to live in their cars if they parked in an industrial or commercial zone. The problem with that approach, is that there are many council districts that don’t have large industrial or commercial zones, but our area of the San Fernando Valley has large areas that would now be open to people living in their cars.
This will create an unfriendly business environment, many unsafe paths to school and recreation facilities for kids, and would push most of the problem into our district, and out of more affluent areas of the City. Additionally, this approach gives our stamp of approval to people living in cars, rather than finding real solutions to homelessness that gets people into services and off the streets all together.
We can do better, and that’s why I was the only vote against this effort when it came before the full City Council the first time. I invite you to watch my full comments on the matter at the Council meeting, and join me in opposing this specific approach when the final ordinance returns to the Council for adoption.