Council Directs Staff to Draft Anti-Camping Ordinance, Explore Safe Camping Sites
January 5, 2023
The Culver City Council recently held a meeting to discuss whether to implement an ordinance that prohibits camping in public spaces.
Following a lengthy meeting that drew more than 90 speakers on both sides of the issue, the Council decided to direct staff to draft an ordinance which is similar to Santa Monica's anti-camping law and to explore safe camping sites in Culver City.
The proposed ordinance, which will be considered by Council at its Jan. 23 meeting, will identify public places, such as public parks, public buildings, public parking lots, public streets and sidewalks, and public landscaped areas where camp facilities are prohibited, said city officials.
"The Ordinance will also authorize the City Council to designate specified public places where camping is allowed," said staff in report. "Enforcing the ordinance would involve removal of prohibited structures and equipment, but it does not involve the removal of unhoused persons."
City officials said staff will begin work to locate property for a safe camping site, where homeless people will have access to restrooms, showers, access to healthcare services and 24/7 staff to connect them with Los Angeles County Health Services and Los Angeles County Mental Health and to secure long-term housing.
"The goals of the safe camping site are similar to Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass's 'Inside Safe' program," said city officials in a statement.
According to the 2022 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count, an estimated 350 people experience homelessness in the local community, said Culver City officials.
In a staff presentation to the council, Director of Housing and Human Services Tevis Barnes mentioned there are approximately 20 people living in encampments under the 405 Freeway at Venice Blvd., 6 people near the Senior Center, 3 at Veterans Park and half of dozen along the Ballona Creek.
After a spirited discussion, Mayor Albert Vera was joined by Council members Goran Eriksson and Dan O'Brien in voting to direct staff to draft the anti-camping ordinance.
Prior to the meeting, a large group of people chanting 'Services Not Sweeps' gathered to rally in the courtyard in front of City Hall. Afterwards, the gathering entered the council chambers to show support for the homeless people.