Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Law regulating LA's group homes sent back to working group

Mitch Englander

via cd12.lacity.org

L.A. City Councilman Mitch Englander is pushing an ordinance to regulate group homes. After a lengthy city council meeting, the proposal was sent to a working group for further review.

The L.A. City Council sent a proposal to regulate group homes in the city of Los Angeles back to a working group Wednesday after neighborhood groups and some city council members voiced concerns that the ordinance might harm veterans and domestic violence. 

A working group that includes representatives from the city's Housing, Planning, and Building and Safety Departments will review the Community Care Facilities Ordinance. Councilmen Mitch Englander, Ed Reyes and Richard Alarcon, who chair the Public Safety, Planning and Housing committees respectively, will also join the working group.

Englander told a packed council chamber that he is going after housing situations with “horrible, deplorable, unsafe and unsanitary conditions.”

“When you shove 30 people into a garage with no running water and no bathroom facilities, that’s not solving a problem. They’re all over the city, in every community,” Englander said.

The proposed ordinance would have redefined a “boarding house” and placed restrictions on operations in residential neighborhoods. A coalition of almost 200 groups who feared it would place burdensome restrictions on homes opposed the plan.

“This is a flawed policy that affects and limits housing for anyone that is facing a shared housing environment,” said Elise Buik, president of the United Way of Greater Los Angeles.

“This includes our low-income poor folks, it includes elderly, formerly homeless, veterans, students and anyone in a shared housing environment. Why would we want to limit the options for our most vulnerable populations?”

In a letter to Alarcon, the United Way of Greater Los Angeles pledged to find private money that would allow the city to step up its enforcement of nuisance laws already on the books.

The proposal,  years in the making, received renewed attention last month after a quadruple murder in Northridge. Someone shot two men and two women outside an unlicensed boarding house. 

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