Homeless people who have been forced to live in their vehicles can now seek assistance regarding community parking restrictions at a newly opened legal clinic in Venice.
The Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles recently opened the clinic to provide services in response to stricter municipal laws and parking restrictions in the community, a foundation spokesperson said.
The walk-in clinic will be held every other Wednesday from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Venice Community Housing Corporation, 720 Rose Ave. in Venice.
Legal aid and volunteer attorneys will provide information, legal counseling and other assistance to homeless people who have been arrested or cited for violating the Los Angeles law banning the overnight parking of oversize vehicles or other parking restrictions. Individuals may require assistance with other municipal laws that prevent people from sleeping in their cars overnight, from sitting or lying on any street, sidewalk or public way, or to sleep in any public park and on the beach overnight.
“Taken together, these laws effectively outlaw homeless people from living within the city limits,” said Susan Millmann, an attorney with LAFLA who is helping to organize the clinic. “We intend to work with private attorneys and the Public Defender’s Office to ensure that every person cited or arrested understands his or her legal rights and has the opportunity to have a fair hearing if the claims are disputed.”
Steve Clare, executive director of the Venice Community Housing Corporation, added, “The answer to homelessness is housing, not law enforcement that drives the homeless from one neighborhood to another. For those with mental illness, including drug and alcohol addictions and other medical problems, housing must come with supportive services to help residents stabilize in their new environment, maintain sobriety and move toward self sufficiency.”