Homeless Encampment Process

Homeless/Transient Encampments – What Process The City Must Follow

The City of Los Angeles – under terms of a 2006 settlement reached in a case known as  “Jones vs. the City of Los Angeles” it must abide by the following set of steps when interacting with homeless encampments — as directed by the L.A. City Attorney.

To read the ruling itself please click here


Usually City Council district staff verifies that the encampment is on City property or a public right of way (sidewalk, parks, street, etc.)


A report is then sent to the Bureau of Street Services Investigation and Enforcement Division, BOS, LAHSA, and LAPD.


LAHSA then becomes the first point of contact with the encampment. They are legally required to offer services to the individuals at the location between 1 and 4 times, they also have to submit proof of the encampment, document with it pictures and send that documentation to the Street Use and Enforcement Investigation Division.


Once the documentation is submitted the Investigation and Enforcement Division must then conclude and sign off that the encampment is indeed in violation and in the public right of way.


Next, the sign off is then sent to the Bureau of Sanitation who is assigned an authorization number that gives the City permission to give notice and clean up city property. The law requires 24 hours notice before clean up, so signs are posted and then documented to prove that they went up.


After the 24 hours notice, the Bureau of Sanitation Watershed Protection Division (who is trained to handle hazardous materials) comes out and goes through all the items, pulls out hazardous waste, sorts the items and then stores them downtown so that the homeless individuals can pick up their belongings.


The major caveat to this entire process is that each Council District, not just a single neighborhood, is only given a certain number of days that Watershed Protection Team in is their district (about 6 days a month) so this entire process must be coordinated around those six days. This means while we may have authorization to clean up an encampment we wait to post the notices until 24 hours before the Watershed Protection Team will be in our district, so we can clean up as many encampments as we can while they are here.

And once this clean up is completed and the encampment returns then this entire process must be restarted all over again.

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