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The Road Home

Providing A Path To Stability For Unhoused Californians Living in Their Vehicles: AB 1685

Courtesy of David Monniaux

A newly proposed California State Assembly bill could provide parking ticket relief for people experiencing homelessness.

Assembly Bill 1685 (AB 1685), authored by Assemblymember Isaac Bryan and sponsored by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) and Housing California, would require that all local cities create a ticket relief program to waive parking ticket balances for people experiencing homelessness.

California traffic fines and fees are the highest in the country. For our unhoused neighbors, the price of parking tickets is steep — not only can late fees be onerous, but a person may see their vehicle booted or towed; for someone living in their vehicle, this can push them deeper into crisis, as their car can serve as a last vestige of stability, as well as a means to access employment, appointments with doctors or case managers, all of which can help someone exit their episode of homelessness.

AB 1685 would build on existing programs by creating a statewide solution modeled after best practices from cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco, which have successful programs that waive ticket balances for people experiencing homelessness who receive much-needed debt relief.

“We hope that by eliminating these fees, our most vulnerable neighbors will be less burdened by debt and have a better chance to thrive,” LAHSA Executive Director Heidi Marston said.

According to the 2020 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count — the last time the count could safely be conducted — at least 18,904 people were living in 11,124 vehicles on any given night. Further analysis shows that parking fees significantly burden low-income families with unmanageable debt while providing little-to-no revenue for cities.

In the past few years, the state has passed several measures that have led to cities creating ticket installment payment plans. However, data shows that for people experiencing homelessness, these debts go largely uncollected even with installment plans. Not only does the state not recoup the fees assessed, but people also end up losing access to their vehicles.

As a result, several cities have moved to waive ticket balances, but the practice remains inconsistent across the state. With 161,000 people experiencing homelessness statewide, AB 1685 creates an opportunity for cities to remove major barriers to assisting these households in exiting homelessness.

AB 1685 recently passed out of the Assembly Transportation Committee and awaits a hearing in the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee.

Please let your Assemblymember know that you support AB 1685. Find your representative at https://findyourrep.legislature.ca.gov/

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LA Homeless Services Authority

LA Homeless Services Authority

We lead the fight to end #homelessness in LA County. www.lahsa.org.