Why only a fraction of LA street vendors have secured permits

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Elizabeth Medina (right) and her friend and street vending partner Victor Renteria pose for a photo as they sell electronics and other knick-knacks near MacArthur Park. Photo by Benjamin Gottlieb.

The City of LA estimates that 3-4% of street vendors have the proper documentation to operate legally, and advocates for street vending say it’s around 1%. City and county officials say the pandemic has severely impacted their ability to do outreach and help vendors get their permits. But activists and vendors alike say the city and county permitting processes are too costly, difficult to navigate, and foster a generally unsupportive environment.