City Panel OKs Plan to House Human Trafficking Victims

October 12, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Victims of human trafficking in Los Angeles could soon have housing built for them after a City Council committee approved of the plan Wednesday.

The idea for the housing came from Councilwoman Nury Martinez, who instructed the city’s Housing and Community Investment Department during the city’s budget sessions earlier this year to develop housing for human trafficking victims.

Martinez represents the 6th Council District in the northeast San Fernando Valley, where human trafficking has been a longtime problem, particularly along Lankershim Boulevard and Sepulveda Boulevard.

“This is an issue that has been of critical importance to me since the day I was elected to the City Council. This is not an issue that only affects my district, but its negative impacts are felt throughout Los Angeles and the rest of the world,” Martinez said.

“This is an opportunity for the city to be a leader in helping women find a safe place to get free from their abuser. It is vital that we support human trafficking victims that are in need of a place that can offer refuge, resources, protection and serves as a transitional safe space,” she said.

The City Council’s Housing Committee approved the department’s request to release a proposal to develop the housing, and the request is now expected to come before the full council next week.

“I know that for this population of those that are trafficked, threatened, abused and beaten, the need is imperative. With limited to no housing options, women are given hotel vouchers, sometimes to the same places they were rescued from, just to be victimized all over again,” Martinez said.

“This dedicated housing can finally be a victim’s first step towards breaking the chains of abuse and we need to create a place that allows that to happen.”
 

L.A. Council Restricts ‘Car Living’ Near Homes, Schools, Parks

November 22, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

The Los Angeles City Council gave final approval Tuesday to an ordinance barring people from living in cars near homes, parks, schools and daycare facilities.

Under the ordinance, which must be signed by the mayor before taking effect, parking for habitation purposes will be prohibited from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. along residential streets with both single- and multi-family homes.

The restriction will apply all day for any street that is within a block or 500 feet of a school, park or daycare center.

The ordinance will theoretically still allow people to live out of their vehicles in commercial and industrial zones. Those who violate the ordinance will receive citations requiring them to pay penalties ranging from $25 to $75.

The ordinance will end after about 18 months. City officials said they need that amount of time at most to come up with an alternative homeless parking plan, such as one modeled after a Santa Barbara “safe parking” initiative that allows the homeless to camp their cars in parking lots.

The ban will replace an existing one that was in effect citywide, but was deemed unconstitutional.

Several attorneys and advocates for the homeless have warned that the new ban could still run afoul of the rights of the homeless, raising concerns that the ordinance will be a financial hardship on homeless people and, in effect, make homelessness a crime.

Some council members have been critical of the ordinance. Joe Buscaino and Nury Martinez have said they represent communities with more industrial and commercial zones than other areas, so the ordinance would likely drive disproportionately more homeless people to their districts.

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