Jan 08 2013
Los Angeles City Council members are expected to vote this month on the Community Care Facilities Ordinance that would affect more than 43,000 families in the city. Originally created in 2007 by then council member Greig Smith, the ordinance was designed to eliminate homes for recovering drug and alcohol users, also called “sober-homes,” from single family residential zones.
Following a December 2012 shooting in a Northridge boarding house that left four dead, the ordinance gained new traction from San Fernando Valley Councilman Mitchell Englander. If passed, the measure would require homes that have at least seven inhabitants, or more than one lease, to have a license that would label it as a boarding house. Under current law, this type of housing is prohibited in single family residential zones. The passage of the bill would force those tenants to merge leases or face eviction.
While proponents say that the ordinance would eliminate homes that are overcrowded and promote drug use, critics say its effects are questionable and could actually create more problems. By closing these shared homes, more people may end up on the streets possibly being drawn back into criminal activities. Those sharing rental properties are often low income working families, veterans, or students, who share housing as a means to save money to live in safer neighborhoods.
If the ordinance is passed it would also eliminate over 250 government-subsidized shared housing units for disabled people. While the measure could possibly be bypassed by having tenants sign a single lease, it could cost taxpayers millions of dollars to enforce.
GUEST: Greg Spiegel, Director of Public Policy and Communications at Inner City Law
Visit www.stopccfo.org for more information.