The California city of Burbank banned people from living in tents and vehicles on public property, becoming the latest city to take such a step, amid the ongoing homeless crisis in the state.
The new ordinance was passed unanimously by the city council on Tuesday and will go into effect in mid-March.
The move comes as cities across California struggle to deal with a growing homelessness crisis that has been exacerbated by the pandemic and rising housing costs.
Homelessness Across California Exacerbated by the COVID Pandemic
The issue of homelessness in California has become direr as a result of the pandemic. Widespread job loss and increased financial insecurity have led to a spike in homelessness across the state.
Cities such as West Hollywood have attempted to address the issue through various measures, including banning people from living in tents in public spaces.
60% of homeless who receive gov. assistance in California remain on the street, a recent state report revealed.
California spent ~$10 billion on the problem over the last three years — money that has now attracted 30% of the nation's homeless.
More: https://t.co/VEu8XciA6F pic.twitter.com/IDa0GmS8K3
— KUSI News (@KUSINews) February 18, 2023
However, critics argue that criminalizing homelessness is not a solution, but rather it exacerbates the issue. Western Regional Advocacy Project Executive Director, Paul Boden, said, “It just moves people around and makes their lives even harder.”
Instead of criminalizing homelessness, advocates suggest the government should invest in programs to provide housing and support services to those in need.
Despite opposition from advocates, the city of West Hollywood moved forward with its ban on tents in public spaces, joining a growing number of cities across the state that have implemented similar measures.
The ban has been met with mixed reactions from residents, with some applauding the city’s efforts to address the issue of homelessness, while others express concern about the impact on those experiencing homelessness.
As of Jan 2023…
there are over 170,000 people living in tents, cars, sleeping outdoors on sidewalks and under highway overpasses in So. California…
the epicenter of the nation’s homeless crisis.
Photo: A tent-city under the 405fwy in Los Angeles. This is ALL Liberal doing🤬 pic.twitter.com/2IVR60Yr9g
— 💖TRUMPS BLONDE💖 (@TRUMPSBLONDE_23) February 19, 2023
California Home to Largest Homeless Population in the US
While the ban may provide temporary relief for residents who feel unsafe or uncomfortable with people living in tents in public spaces, critics argue it does not address the root causes of homelessness.
California is home to the largest homeless population in the United States, with more than 160,000 people living on the streets, in shelters, or in vehicles, according to a recent report by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The problem has been exacerbated by the pandemic, which led to widespread job loss and increased financial insecurity.
In the absence of a comprehensive solution, cities have turned to bans on camping and sleeping in public as a way to address the problem.
However, these bans have been criticized for being cruel and ineffective, and for punishing people who are already vulnerable. Critics also argue these bans are short-sighted and fail to address the underlying causes of homelessness.
According to Paul Boden, executive director of the Western Regional Advocacy Project, criminalizing homelessness is not a solution, as it only displaces people and exacerbates their difficulties.