Anti-Camping Ordinance to Return to City Council Agenda with Support Standards

The Culver City Council agenda for the upcoming meeting on Monday, Feb. 13, 2023 schedules a return of the anti-camping ordinance that was first proposed at an emergency meeting on Dec. 21, 2022. 

Posted as Action Item 1, the updated language for the ordinance takes in the federal decision of Martin V. Boise without citing it in specific; “…recent case law, has made clear that cities cannot prohibit, by criminal penalty or administrative citation that may lead to criminal penalty, a homeless individual from sleeping or merely using blankets, pillows, sleeping bags, or similar bedding, unless there is shelter space available for that individual to use.”

The proposed ordinance is updated to require that the city’s support systems – those already in process, like Project Homekey, and those put back into movement earlier this week, like the safe camping site on Virginia Avenue – be available before the anti-camping law goes into effect. 

The language from the proposed ordinance states “enforcement of this Ordinance shall be deferred until all of the following have been completed: 

1. Open for occupancy 73 new units of interim and permanent supportive housing, known as Project Homekey, located at 3868 and 3900 Sepulveda Boulevard;

2. Open for occupancy a safe-camping site with supportive services for up to 40 people on a City-owned parking lot at 10555 Virginia Avenue; and

3. Enter into long-term agreements with local motels for additional rooms for temporary housing.”

More detail is available on the specifics of what constitutes camping, and what spaces are exempt from camping, in the body of the document. It also shows a great deal of redacted text offering how much of this final draft has been re-written from the original proposal. 

The success of the ‘Safe Inside’ program in the City of Los Angeles – far from complete, but partial and improving – takes much of the pressure off of Culver City in regard to the homeless problem. How the new funding from Los Angeles County, some of which is available to cities, will impact the issue will be unknown for weeks or even months. 

Recent statements from the City of Culver City have put the deadline for opening both Project Homekey and the safe camping site in March of 2023. 

Judith Martin-Straw


The Actors' Gang