Two Directions on Homelessness

Significant changes in city policies regarding homelessness were reported today in Los Angeles and New York, taking the two cities in very different directions. Read More... The City of Los Angeles and the ACLU announced a settlement today in a case filed by six homeless people in 2003 over an ordinance that prohibits sleeping on sidewalks, and which had been used by the Los Angeles Police Department to roust the homeless from Skid Row.

Under the terms of the settlement, individuals may sleep on the sidewalk from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. if they are at least 10 feet from business and residential entrances and are not engaged in criminal activity. The settlement will remain in place for at least several years, until the city builds 1,250 new units of supportive housing in the Skid Row area and other parts of the city.

In New York, the City announced that it will close a loop hole that allowed families who apply for benefits but are turned down to obtain emergency overnight housing. The city had allowed families who had been ruled ineligible to be given shelter for one night if they reapplied after 5 p.m.

Approaches towards homelessness vary markedly in America's major cities. Planners who are attempting to replicate New York's Midtown Community Court model in San Fransisco's Tenderloin District found that major differences in public opinion on the issue forced them to set aside some parts of the Midtown formula.