"Los Angeles needs mission-driven, accountable, even impatient leadership on homelessness — leadership that
is both focused and empowered to make things happen."
- City Attorney Mike Feuer: LA Times Op-Ed:
L.A. needs a homelessness czar (link to op-ed)
Homeless Engagement and Response Team
Our Homeless Engagement and Response Team (HEART), in partnership with the LA County Public Defender’s Office, runs a criminal record clearing program for people experiencing homelessness or at risk of experiencing homelessness. HEART deploys alongside the public defenders to park spaces, shelters, service providers, and libraries to host mobile legal clinics – essentially bringing the Court to the streets. HEART helps participants resolve infraction citations for minor violations, such as jaywalking, having an open container, or having expired car tags. These tickets are wiped clean in exchange for service engagement with onsite resources, such as housing, benefits, drug treatment, medical care, and job training. The public defenders help participants expunge past misdemeanor and felony convictions and connect with counsel for active cases. This community engagement is funded by the LA County Board of Supervisors, which recently awarded HEART nearly $1 million dollars to conduct this innovative legal work. Last year HEART hosted 56 clinics, engaged 1,200 participants, facilitated the resolution of 1,102 cases and connected 1,112 to homeless case managers.
Recently LA City Attorney Mike Feuer, LA County District Attorney Jackie Lacey and LAPD Chief Michael Moore partnered to void over two million low-level and uncollectible citations that were over five years-old. This will unclog the courts while also stopping this detrimental cycle of arrest – citation – penalty that so many people experiencing homelessness and poverty find themselves in. HEART is continuing to rectify this cycle through the LA County Homeless Court Program.
Email HEART for more information or call 213-978-1937
Homeless Patient Dumping
Patient dumping is when a health facility (hospital or skilled nursing facility) releases or discharges a patient including the homeless onto the streets or to an unlicensed facility (shelter, half-way-house, crisis center) that cannot provide the level care necessary for the patient's recovery. An example is when a wheel chair bound homeless patient has an open leg wound that will need a few weeks of recuperative care to fully recover is discharged to the street where the wound is likely to be come infected, require re-hospitalization and possibly result in the loss of a limb.
Current law requires hospitals to work with the patient's family when discussing treatment and discharge, to create an appropriate patient discharge plan and to obtain a signed written informed consent from the patient if the hospital is transporting the patient by hospital van,taxi or bus to any location other than the patient's residence, which does not include the street or a shelter.
The civil law enforcement actions brought by the City Attorney against hospitals and skilled nursing facilities has resulted in those facilities providing monetary assistance to homeless service groups within the City of Los Angeles as well as requiring those facilities to adopt Homeless Patient Discharge Planning Protocol.
Our office also created a patient dumping hotline and we encourage anyone that sees it, or suspects it, to let us know by calling 213-978-8070. On November 5, 2018, at the California Endowment, LA City Attorney Mike Feuer, LA County District Attorney Jackie Lacey and the Hospital Association of Southern California convened health care providers, social service agencies and other community experts at a symposium entitled "Addressing the Challenge of Homeless Patient Discharges."
Significant Homeless Dumping Cases: Press Releases
7/2/2018: LA City Attorney Mike Feuer and District Attorney Jackie Lacey Secure Settlement with Silver Lake Medical Center over Allegations of Homeless Patient Dumping; will co-host summit to address challenges of discharging homeless patients
Safe Parking provides a safe place to park every night while utilizing services for housing. Call 323-210-3375 or visit the City of LA's Safe Parking website.
People using Safe Parking may also qualify for two free programs from the Office of City Attorney Mike Feuer: HEART and Clean Slate. Both allow participants to resolve certain non-traffic citations, cases and warrants by engaging in services, instead of paying fines or fees or facing jail time.
For information about infractions, email HEART or call 213-978-1937. For information about misdemeanors, call the Clean Slate program at 213-978-7878.
Download the Safe Parking promotional flier in English. (link to PDF)
Download the Safe Parking promotional flier - Estacionamiento Seguro Disponible - in Spanish. (link to PDF)
LA DOOR is a comprehensive, health-focused, preventative approach to addiction that proactively engages individuals at elevated risk of returning to the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office on a new misdemeanor offense related to substance use, mental illness, or homelessness. Over 80% of LA DOOR participants are homeless. Rather than waiting to charge new arrests, LA DOOR delivers peer-led multidisciplinary social services to five "hotspot" locations - one for each day of the week - to proactively engage participants in substance use treatment, mental health support, physical healthcare, and case management – all without asking law enforcement to be the first point of contact. Though most participants are engaged through outreach, LA DOOR also offers pre-booking diversion on eligible Prop 47 drug arrests. Participants who go through pre-booking diversion can take advantage of LA DOOR services instead of having their arrest processed for charging.
To implement LA DOOR, the Office of the City Attorney partners with SSG Project 180 for its outreach and intensive outpatient case management services, West Angeles Community Development Corporation and Ms. Hazel’s House for LA DOOR transitional housing, and the Public Defender’s Office for addressing participants’ legal barriers. From January 2018 to March 2019, LA DOOR assisted 451 individuals in South LA, with 281 completing two months of case management services, 164 receiving substance use treatment, 81 receiving mental health care, 64 receiving physical health care, 33 receiving legal support, and over 100 receiving housing support. LA DOOR has operated in South LA (Southwest, Southeast, and 77th LAPD Divisions) since January 2017, is expanding into Central LA (Central, Rampart, and Newton LAPD Divisions) beginning in January, 2020. LA DOOR is funded through $12 million in Proposition 47 grants. The LA DOOR project is one of several projects created by the City Attorney’s Recidivism Reduction and Drug Diversion Unit. For more information, email Supervising Attorney Jamie Larson or Senior Program Administrator Kyle Kirkpatrick.
The Los Angeles County Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program is based on a national mode where individuals with a history of opioid use are connected with harm reduction services through contacts with law enforcement. In Los Angeles County, the program is operated by the Office of Diversion and Reentry (ODR) in partnership with Los Angeles Police Department. ODR has previously implemented Project LEAD in the City of Long Beach and is now implementing a pilot program in LAPD Hollywood Division. The goal of the program is to place approximately 100 homeless persons in housing and services over the course of a two year period.
The LEAD program will identify candidates for this program through social contacts and pre-arrest contacts between individuals and LAPD Hollywood Division’s Coordinated Outreach Resource and Enforcement (CORE) unit which is specially tasked with homeless outreach and enforcement. Referrals into the program are provided exclusively through the CORE team. When an individual is referred through pre-booking diversion, the Neighborhood Prosecutor (NP) will receive notification that an individual has been referred to the LEAD program by the arresting agency and/or the case manager. The NP will then evaluate whether the candidate is eligible for the project based upon the Lead Ineligibility List.
Once admitted into the program, the NP will monitor whether each program candidate has finished the complete assessment intake interview within the 30-day time limit. If the candidate fails to finish the complete assessment intake interview with the case manager within 30 days, the NP will file criminal charges if the case otherwise meets criminal filing standards.
The NP will also conduct a holistic analysis of the participants criminal history by identifying pending criminal cases, including probation violation matters, outstanding warrants, and as best as possible, new arrests of all LEAD participants. The NP may coordinate with other prosecutors in Los Angeles County in all other pending criminal matters involving LEAD participants, to aid them in exercising their prosecutorial discretion in a way which will best encourage behavior change. For more information, email Neighborhood Prosecutor Ethan Weaver.
Misdemeanor Mental Health Diversion
Funded with a grant from the MacArthur Foundation, and in partnership with many local agencies, this is another innovative approach to dealing with low-level offenders who suffer from mental illness and - in many instances - are experiencing homelessness. Understanding that these individuals are better served by mental health services and residential treatment - housing - instead of incarceration, an LA County Department of Mental Health expert will be able to recommend the defendant for pre-plea diversion under AB 1810. A defendant who complies with the conditions of diversion will have their case dismissed. This approach can yield significant benefits: reducing pretrial incarceration rates for those suffering from mental illness; decreasing costs related to the incarceration of those suffering from mental illness; increasing service linkage rates for justice-involved individuals suffering from mental illness; and ultimately, lowering recidivism rates for those suffering from mental illness. Since May, 69 people have been accepted into this program. For more information, email Central Operations' Assistant Supervisor Kelly Boyer or email Central Operations' Senior Legal Clerk Betty Nisly.
Clean Slate Program
Unresolved misdemeanor cases or warrants may prevent a homeless person from getting a job or housing. The Los Angeles City Attorney’s "Clean Slate" program aims to solve this issue.
With Clean Slate, social service providers identify homeless clients who have unresolved misdemeanor cases that are under the jurisdiction of the City of Los Angeles. If there are no ongoing public safety issues, a Neighborhood Prosecutor works with defense counsel to resolve the cases – these resolutions encourage the client to continue working with their service provider to move out of homelessness (e.g., obtaining IDs, attending counseling sessions, applying for housing or a job, etc.). After the client completes this work, the misdemeanor cases are often dismissed. This allows the homeless client to move into housing or employment with a clean slate.
For more information, email LAPD Valley Bureau Neighborhood Prosecutor Todd Gilman.
On April 20th, 2018, Ordinance 185489 became effective and amended Sections 12.03, 14.00 and 151.02 of the LA Municipal Code which established regulations to facilitate the use of existing hotels and motels for Supportive Housing or Transitional Housing for persons experiencing homelessness or those at risk of homelessness. Further, LAMC Section 14.00.A.12 facilitates the interim use of existing transient residential structures, such as Motels, Hotels, Apartment Hotels, Transient Occupancy Residential Structures and Hostels as Supportive Housing or Transitional Housing for persons experiencing homelessness or those at risk of homelessness.
All projects must meet the zoning, compliance and performance standards described in the Guidelines For Plan Check and Permit Requirement for Interim Hotel and Motel Conversion Projects, which also provides guidance about the plan check and permitting process.
For more information, email Assistant City Attorney and Director of Homelessness Policies & Strategies Gita O'Neil.
Proposition HHH Supportive Housing Loan Program (Prop HHH) passed in 2016 and is designed to develop supportive housing for homeless individuals and those at risk of homelessness throughout the City. In 2016, Los Angeles voters overwhelmingly voted for a $0.348 per square foot property tax which funds the $1.2 billion dollar bond measure. The program emphasis is on reducing homelessness by creating safe and affordable housing units, and increasing accessibility to a variety of necessary services and treatment programs. More details and up to date progress on what is being built can be found here on the Tracking Homelessness webpage.
This County measure passed in 2016 with funding that started July 2017. This measure raised the County sales tax by one-quarter (1/4) of a cent. The revenues go to provide services for the homeless. The tax applies to all the cities within the County of Los Angeles and is in effect for ten years. The County’s plan for the funds is detailed on the LA County Homelessness webpage.
This model offers permanent housing as quickly as possible for people experiencing homelessness, particularly for people with long histories of homelessness and health challenges. Income, sobriety, and/or participation in treatment (or other services) is voluntary and are not required as a condition for housing. The model’s basis is the philosophy that the best chance a person has of not returning to homelessness, is to provide housing as soon as possible, regardless of whether or not any underlying behavioral and/or medical issues have been resolved. Once safely housed, many people take advantage of offered services.
COORDINATED ENTRY SYSTEM ("CES")
“CES” is a regionally based system that connects new and existing programs into a “no wrong-door network” by assessing the needs of individuals/families/youth experiencing homelessness. CES then links them with the most appropriate housing and services options to end their homelessness. The goal of the CES is to streamline the processes through which communities assess, house, and support housing retention for individuals/families who are homeless. The CES system prioritizes the sickest, most vulnerable homeless people first and gives them priority over others experiencing homelessness. For various reasons, not all service providers participate in the CES.
24 hour emergency shelter to be utilized by eligible homeless individuals as identified through the CES. Some service or access to services are provided on site or nearby. The intention of this type of housing is to provide individuals with some stability so that they can more easily maintain contact with their service providers as they are assisted with finding housing.
PERMANENT SUPPORTIVE HOUSING ("PSH")
"PSH" is long term, community based housing that has supportive services for homeless persons with disabilities. This type of supportive housing enables the special needs population to live as independently as possible in a permanent setting with supportive services on site. Permanent Housing can be provided in one structure or in several structures at one site or in multiple structures at scattered sites.
The City defines a homeless encampment as one or more persons living or storing personal property in an unsheltered area.
LOS ANGELES HOMELESS AUTHORITY ("LAHSA")
"LAHSA" is the lead agency in the Los Angeles Continuum of Care, which is the regional planning body that coordinates housing and services for homeless families and individuals in Los Angeles County. LAHSA is a joint powers agreement between the County and the City. In 1993, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and the Los Angeles mayor and City Council created LAHSA as an independent, joint powers authority. LAHSA coordinates and manages over $300 million annually in federal, state, county, and city funds for programs that provide shelter, housing, and services to people experiencing homelessness. LAHSA gets a high percentage of the Measure H funding (see below).
SERVICE PROVIDER AREA ("SPA")
"SPA" is a specific geographic region within Los Angeles County. Due to the large size of LA County (4,300 square miles), it has been divided into 8 geographic areas. These distinct regions allow the Department of Public Health to develop and provide more relevant public health and clinical services targeted to the specific health needs of the residents in these different areas.
Interim housing provides short-term stays and various services for people experiencing homelessness until they are connected with permanent housing. Interim housing includes shelters, where people can stay up to six months, and transitional housing, where people can stay up to two years.
A building where housing linked to Supportive Services is offered, usually for a period of up to 24 months, to facilitate movement to permanent housing for persons with low incomes who may have one or more disabilities, and may include adults, emancipated minors, families with children, elderly persons, young adults aging out of the foster care system, individuals exiting from institutional settings, veterans, and homeless people.
Services that are provided on a voluntary basis to residents of Supportive Housing and Transitional Housing, including, but not limited to, a combination of subsidized, permanent housing, intensive case management, medical and mental health care, substance abuse treatment, employment services, benefits advocacy, and other services or service referrals necessary to obtain and maintain housing.
Vulnerability Index–Service Prioritization Decision Assistance Tool (VI-SPDAT), which is intended to assess the level of a person’s need, regardless of whether he or she already has a long history of experiencing homelessness. This tool is used to see if someone is "high acuity"- meaning very sick or in danger of becoming very sick or "low acuity" meaning not very sick and a low risk of becoming very sick. The CES system prioritizes those people the VI-SPDAT asseses as high acuity.
OPERATION HEALTHY STREETS (OHS)
OHS was implemented in 2012 as a robust homeless community outreach program designed to provide adequate notice and identify high-risk people in need of services and assistance. The City of Los Angeles developed and deployed this program with specialized teams from LA Sanitation (LASAN), the Bureau of Street Services, Los Angeles Police Department, Los Angeles Fire Department, and other agencies to effectively reduce the impacts of encampments in the Skid Row area and the Venice Beach Area on public health, fire hazard, hazardous materials, and safety.
The City's teams that use data-driven tools to provide public health services to encampments, identify areas of highest need, and ensure that the hardest-hit areas receive regularly scheduled cleanups and hygiene services. Each CARE team is assigned to a specific location, enabling the City to deploy clean up services more efficiently, and help sanitation workers build stronger relationships with homeless Angelenos in desperate need. The teams will receive specialized mental health training and deliver public health resources — including daily trash collection and mobile restrooms — to homeless communities.
Frequently Asked Questions About Homelessness in Los Angeles
HOW MANY HOMELESS PEOPLE ARE THERE IN LOS ANGELES?
There is a yearly effort to count the number of homeless people residing in the City. This count is done by LAHSA every year usually in January. According to the 2018 "Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count" by LAHSA, there are 31,285 people experiencing homelessness in the City of Los Angeles. The 2017 Annual Homelessness Assessment Report to Congress by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development ("HUD"), listed Los Angeles as having the second highest population of homeless individuals (New York has the largest population) in the United States, but Los Angeles is listed as having the largest percentage of unsheltered population in the nation because New York City shelters a greater number of its homeless residents than does Los Angeles.
WHAT ABOUT PEOPLE LIVING IN TENTS ON SIDEWALKS NEAR MY HOME? HOW DO I REPORT THEM?
You can report the tent encampments to 311 if you believe there is unsanitary conditions at the encampment and the City needs to clean up there area. You can also report the encampment location to Los Angeles Homeless Services on authority on the LA HOP website and LAHSA will send outreach workers to offer services to the individuals living there. If you believe there is criminal activity going on in the encampment, you can also report the encampment location to your local LAPD station. It is not illegal to have a tent up or live on the sidewalk between 9pm and 6am or during inclement weather as long as there are 36 inches of sidewalk for passage.
WHAT ABOUT PEOPLE SLEEPING IN THEIR CARS?
It is not against the law for anyone to sleep in a parked vehicle during the day or over night.
WHAT ABOUT PEOPLE LIVING IN THEIR CARS?
LAMC 85.02 made it an infraction to dwell or live in a vehicle in certain zones in the City. However, this section expired on January 1, 2020 and is no longer enforceable.
CAN I ALLOW PEOPLE TO PARK ON MY PARKING LOT AND HAVE A "SAFE PARKING" LOT?
From the June 22, 2017 Planning Department report on the use of existing parking lots for "safe parking:" (PDF)
REPORT ON IMPLEMENTATION OF SAFE PARKING PILOT PROGRAM (CF 15-1138-S15)
During the December 7, 2016 meeting of the Homelessness and Poverty Committee, the Department of City Planning was directed to prepare and present an ordinance to the City Planning Commission to effectuate the establishment of a Safe Parking Pilot Program (SPPP) as part of the City’s Comprehensive Homeless Strategy 6B. The SPPP would allow for overnight parking at pre-determined off-street locations for homeless individuals who currently sleep in their vehicles as a form of shelter, subject to operational guidelines currently in development with the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA). The SPPP would offer such individuals a safe area to legally park on an overnight basis, as well as a stable location where outreach teams and case managers can access clients and connect them to services and permanent housing. Hours of operation would vary on a lot-by-lot basis at the discretion of the property owner, with the expectation that participants would vacate privately owned parking lots during normal operating hours (e.g. from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.), or vacate publicly owned parking lots at posted hours in order to allow for the lots’ original intended use. In any case, vehicles must be removed from the premises during the day, as continuous habitation in a vehicle on private or public property is not authorized without additional approvals from the City.
This report outlines the circumstances in which a property owner or tenant could provide overnight access to their existing parking lot for individuals who sleep in their vehicles. This is distinct from operating a shelter for the homeless, for which the regulations in LAMC 12.80, 12.81 and 14.00 A.8 would apply. Under the current regulations, overnight parking is already permitted in certain circumstances. The report also outlines the current procedures that may be utilized should there be existing project conditions that need to be addressed or should a special permit be required.
Applicability of Current Regulations
Property owners must comply with all applicable parking requirements as described in LAMC Section 12.21 A.4 as well as any additional limitations on overnight parking that apply to each respective property (i.e. Commercial Corner Developments, conditions of approval), but otherwise are not restricted from allowing individuals to park their vehicles overnight in on-site parking spaces. Generally, property owners choosing to make their parking facilities available for overnight parking may do so without violating any part of the Zoning Code as long as the parking is not continuous and is only during night time hours. Property owners would still be responsible for ensuring that all nuisance laws are observed, as well as any other applicable Building, Fire, Disabled Access, Health, and Safety Codes.
As referenced above, a property’s parking lot may be used to accommodate some vehicles overnight without violating its previously-approved use, unless site-specific conditions of approval exist. Overnight parking must take place in an existing, permitted parking lot. The property may not be a vacant lot. Furthermore, the Code does not prevent a facility, upon the property owner’s discretion, from opening its doors overnight to allow use of the bathroom and other indoor facilities.
However, if additional services are provided, there may be other existing regulations pertaining to allowable uses that may need to be considered. For example, in cases where temporary structures are utilized on the site of a participating Safe Parking area, the applicant may need to secure a permit from the Department of Building and Safety (LADBS). These permits are available at the Department’s permitting counters located in the Metro, Van Nuys, West Los Angeles, San Pedro and South Los Angeles offices. Additional information regarding permits and requirements may be obtained from the LADBS website at ladbs.org.
Plan Approval Process for Sites Subject to Conditions of Approval
One possible barrier for sites wishing to provide safe overnight parking would be if the project site is subject to specific conditions of approval as part of a prior planning entitlement which limit overnight use of the site’s parking facilities. For example, a project may have a condition requiring the gates to be closed by a certain time.
In such a scenario, the applicant would need to seek a plan approval to modify the conditions of approval. Los Angeles Municipal Code (LAMC) Section 12.24 M provides that “for any lot or portion of a lot on which a deemed- approved conditional use is permitted pursuant to the provisions of this section, new buildings or structures may be erected, enlargements may be made to existing buildings, and existing uses may be extended on an approved site provided that plans are submitted to and approved by the Zoning Administrator, the Area Planning Commission, or the City Planning Commission, whichever has jurisdiction at the time."
Properties Located in a Commercial Corner Development or Mini-Shopping Center
Properties may be subject to additional limitations on hours of operation if they are located in a Mini-Shopping Center ora Commercial Corner Development as those terms are defined in LAMC Section 12.03, pursuant to LAMC Sections 12.22 A.23 and 12.24 W.27. If a property is subject to these regulations, it would require a conditional use permit in order to operate between the hours of 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. If the property does not already have a conditional use permit for this purpose, it would be required to apply for one following the procedures described in that Section prior to allowing individuals to utilize the parking lot overnight.
When used exclusively on a temporary overnight basis on a publicly or privately owned parking lot, a Recreational Vehicle (RV) would not be restricted by the applicable City and State regulations, unless otherwise stated. The Zoning Code does not differentiate between the use of a vehicle or RV for this purpose, as approvals for RV Parks and Mobilehome Parks are required when the individual parking spaces or RVs are rented or leased to users (LAMC Section 12.03). Thus, property owners may choose to make their parking facilities available for temporary overnight parking for RVs. Property owners may not, however, lease or rent out space in their parking lots to users. Additionally, users may not dwell in their RVs for longer than one day. Just as for a vehicle, RVs would be required to vacate the property during the day, as continuous habitation in a vehicle on private property is not allowed without additional approvals, and would only be allowed in specific zones.
Overnight parking at off-street locations is permitted in certain circumstances. At a property owner’s discretion, parking facilities may be made available for overnight parking for individuals who sleep in their vehicles as a form of shelter. The process for operating a safe parking facility may differ based on individual circumstances, but generally would occur in one of three ways:
1) If no plan approval or other entitlement is needed and no additional structures are provided onsite, a property owner may provide overnight parking on-site, subject to any other existing restrictions or existing conditions of approval.
2) If a property owner wishes to provide on-site structures and amenities, then a permit may be required from the Department of Building and Safety (LADBS). Applicants should inquire at a LADBS permitting counter located in the Metro, Van Nuys, West Los Angeles, San Pedro or South Los Angeles offices.
3) If a plan approval or other entitlement is needed in order to amend prior conditions of approval, an applicant must submit an application to the Department of City Planning. After the plan approval or other entitlement has been secured, the property owner may provide overnight parking on-site.
If you have any questions, please email Matthew Glesne of the Citywide Policy Planning Division, Department of City Planning or call him at 213-978-2666.
IS IT LEGAL FOR HOMELESS PEOPLE TO LOITER NEAR MY BUSINESS?
Homeless people can do the same things housed people can do. The Constitution applies to everyone. "Loitering" is a specific intent crime which means a person is waiting or hanging out somewhere for the specific purpose of committing a crime. For example, a person is "loitering" if he or she is standing outside of a business waiting to commit a robbery on a patron coming out. A homeless person can stand outside a business in the same way a housed person can. If the person is committing a crime, then store security or LAPD should be notified.
WHAT IF THEY ARE INTIMIDATING CUSTOMERS AND AFFECTING MY BUSINESS?
A person, whether he/she is housed or unhoused, shall not intimidate customers of a store in an illegal manner. Store security or LAPD should be notified.
IS IT LEGAL FOR HOMELESS PEOPLE TO PANHANDLE?
There is a First Amendment right for anyone (housed or unhoused) to ask for money, work or other things. There are local laws that ban solicitation in certain areas and also laws that regulate the manner in which the solicitation is asked for meaning it cannot be in an aggressive or physically threatening way.
WHAT IF THERE IS A TENT OR AN ENCAMPMENT ON THE PERIMETER OF MY CHILD’S SCHOOL?
If there is