Homelessness is clearly a major (and growing) problem in and around the city of Los Angeles. Here’s the current state of the laws regarding homelessness.


1. Is it illegal to sleep in your car?

Starting December 22, 2016, it will be illegal to sleep in your car:

  • overnight (9p – 6a) in residential areas of the city of LA, or
  • any time within 1 block of a park, school, or daycare facility

However, it will be legal to sleep in your car in commercial or other areas that are NOT within 1 block of a park, school, or daycare facility.

The new law is temporary, set to expire in 18 months, while the city looks into alternative solutions.1LAMC 85.02

2. Is it illegal to sleep on the sidewalk?

The city of LA must allow people to sleep on the sidewalk from 9pm to 6am until an additional 1,250 units of supportive housing are built.2Jones v. City of Los Angeles

3. What are the police allowed to do with the belongings of homeless people?

Basically in the city of LA, officials need to give a person 72-hour notice before confiscating the person’s stuff left on the street. Before destroying it, the city must hold any possessions for 90 days to allow a person to claim them.3Lavan v City of Los Angeles See more here.

4. Is it illegal to donate food to a non-profit (or could I be sued for it)?

NO! In fact, laws protect you from liability if you donate food to a non-profit and it later causes harm to someone who handles or eats it, as long as you did not intend to do any harm.4Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act


Photo credit: By Terabass5Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11848664

References   [ + ]