Mixer: Is LA making homelessness a crime?

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The Los Angeles City Council this week gave the city more power to dismantle homeless encampments.

Police will give 24 hours’ notice before removing personal items on public streets, down from 72 hours. No notice will be needed for removing bulky items.

City leaders say the new rules are needed, because the latest countywide homeless count found a 12 percent increase in the transient population and an 85 percent jump in the number of tents and encampments.

But homeless advocates say the city should focus on building more housing instead.

About a dozen protesters disrupted Tuesday’s City Council meeting, calling the rules “criminal” until security officers escorted them out.

There was a study out of UC-Berkeley’s School of Law that shows that California cities – not just LA – have cracked down on things like food sharing with homeless, and passing restrictions on sleeping in cars.

NPR’s Kirk Siegler has been covering the story. So has Steve Lopez, columnist for the Los Angeles Times, and author of “The Soloist,” a true story about a homeless musician in LA.

Both joined us for the Mixer.