The Los Angeles City Council may alter their municipal code regarding the region’s homeless population in the coming days; issuing new guidelines on where the city’s transient population can legally “sit and sleep.”
“The Los Angeles City Council’s homelessness and poverty committee on Wednesday recommended repealing a controversial ordinance prohibiting homeless people from sitting or sleeping on sidewalks. The committee wants city council to replace the law with one that is more narrowly tailored, and compliant with a recent federal court decision,” reports LAist.
“The proposed replacement law lays out a lengthy list of circumstances and conditions under which occupying a sidewalk would be banned. These include within 500 feet of parks and schools and within 10 feet of a driveway or building entrance,” adds the website.
The new guidelines come as the nation’s second largest city struggles to crackdown on an escalating rat infestation.
“An ever-growing number of rodents in California — particularly in Los Angeles — is being fueled by a spiking homeless population and restrictions on rodenticides that are risking a public health crisis, according to a study released Tuesday,” reports Fox News.
“The report by political action committee Reform California cites recent rodent-related events over the past six months, including an employee at the Los Angeles Police Department contracting Typhus and a rat falling from the ceiling of a Buffalo Wild Wings onto the menu of a patron, as proof of an ‘undeniable problem’ in the Golden State,” adds Fox.
“California is being overrun by rodents,” said Carl DeMaio, chairman of Reform California. “Without immediate emergency action by state and local government, we face significant economic costs and risk a public health crisis.”
“Contrary to common belief, being bitten by a rodent is rare and is not the most common way diseases are spread. Nonetheless, reports of city workers being bitten by rodents is on the rise – with most recent cases being reported in Los Angeles,” the report notes. “Two other vehicles of transmission are far more prevalent: fleas and urine droppings.”
The report comes weeks after officials confirmed a massive infestation at Los Angeles City Hall.
Experts are now blaming the infestation on “homeless camps” circling the public property.
“When faced with complaints earlier this year from city workers about rats infesting L.A. City Hall, most city officials said little about whether the problem was connected to several homeless camps right outside,” reports the Los Angeles Times.
“But a newly uncovered report from a pest control company hired by the city has raised fresh questions about whether officials wrongly downplayed that possibility during discussions at City Council meetings,” adds the newspaper.
According to the pest control company hired to clear city hall, workers found “poor sanitary conditions” including human waste, food, and needles throughout the property.
“The homeless are using the grated areas above the pits as their bathroom and relieving themselves,” wrote David Costa, building construction and maintenance superintendent. “This is also attracting the rats. Custodial will need to do some hazmat cleaning of the grates and the pits. There are even hypodermic needles being tossed in the pits along with human waste and other garbage.”
Read the full report here.