Culver City, California considers criminalizing homelessness

Culver City, California, a five-mile city in the urban sprawl that is Los Angeles County's "westside" is considering banning the tents and makeshift structures that unhoused people use to provide themselves shelter. Doing this, they believe, will force people into publicly provided programs to help house them. As the programs are available now, and these unhoused people aren't using them, I am not sure taking their tents away and giving them a ticket will suddenly create the enthusiasm Culver City is looking for.

The program, as proposed, would not go into place until more housing is made available.


Supporters said the proposed ordinance would help homeless people find shelter but opponents believe criminalizing those living on the streets is unacceptable.

"We are talking about safe camping, which is fantastic, it's a harm-reduction approach, and we're talking about criminalization and declaring an emergency," said public comment speaker Bubba Fish. "None of these things are the root cause of homelessness. We've seen the root causes of homelessness are people not being able to afford the rent."

Under the proposed ordinance, homeless people would be allowed to have sleeping bags and blankets, but tents or structures will be banned.

"Since we can forecast a shortage of housing, where will they go and why are we criminalizing the makeshift shelters of the unhoused?" said another speaker.