Right to Rest Act Update

The Venice Stakeholders Association has filed a lawsuit over illegal camping at Venice Beach. Photo courtesy Venice Stakeholders Association


The City Council’s Rules Committee unanimously showed their support against SB 608 yesterday.

The bill proposes all Californians be free to move, sleep, eat, perform religious observations and occupy a legally parked vehicle in public without being subject to harassment or criminal sanctions.

In the face of mounting opposition to the bill the Homeless Persons Legal Assistance Program, a group that supports SB608 says “We are spending more than $300 million a year incarcerating homeless people in California for things like resting. When fewer people are jailed and cited because they were resting in public, it allows these funds to be diverted to less costly, more effective and more humane responses to homelessness – like housing people rather than jailing them.”

SB 608 currently provides no solution for ending homelessness or clear directives suggesting how any of the potential $300 million saved could be used to solve the homeless crisis in California.

Mark Ryavec, President of the Venice Stakeholders Association writes in a letter to Senator Beall opposing SB 608 saying it “offers no increase in welfare benefits, no housing, no counseling, no transportation, no treatment and no more ease in committing mentally ill homeless to custody, so it does nothing to address the fundamental problems of the homeless…”

On any one day in California 160,000 men, women, and children experience homelessness . This equates to 22 percent of the country’s homeless population and 25 percent of its homeless veteran population.

Considering California has only 12 percent of the country’s overall population the number of homeless in the State is disproportionally large compared to the rest of the country.

Continue the forum discussion here.