[Hpn] Los Angeles, CA - City Bulldozes Homeless Camp - Los Angeles Times - December 30, 2003

HC Covington HC Covington" <hcc@icanamerica.org
Tue, 30 Dec 2003 20:29:24 -0500


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City Bulldozes Homeless Camp

About 100 people had been living on the street
next to a shelter downtown.
__________________________________________________
By Andrew Blankstein - Los Angeles Times - December 30, 2003

Los Angeles, CA - A makeshift encampment a stone's throw
from Staples Center was cleared of more than 100 street
people by police before a city skip loader flattened it
Monday.

City officials said they were responding to complaints from
local businesses, increasing crime and unsanitary conditions
at the encampment, next door to a homeless shelter on Golden
Avenue just west of the Harbor Freeway.

Los Angeles police had posted notices warning the homeless
that their camp would be dismantled Monday and offering room
in shelters.

Only four of dozens displaced in the early
morning operation took advantage of the offer, authorities
said. Police said they were enforcing a recently enacted
ordinance prohibiting sleeping on public sidewalks, a
chronic problem downtown.

Early in the morning, homeless people, ranging from
teenagers to septuagenarians, gathered up their blankets,
tarps, cups and toothbrushes and stood along James M. Wood
Boulevard as a skip loader, street cleaner and two large
dump trucks moved into position.

Watching the scene unfold, Christine Garcia, 43, said she
felt lonely and desperate after having been evicted from an
area she described as a "safe haven."

"I came here to live and felt like things were going to be
all right," said Garcia, who was forced out on the streets
last summer when a friend died.

"I'm desperate right now, I'm scared, and this is all I
have," she said, gesturing toward two carts filled with her
possessions.

Ted Hayes, an advocate for the homeless, tried at one point
to block the path of one of the big machines before standing
aside.

"It's harassment, period," said Hayes, wearing a black robe
and carrying a U.S. flag. "The homeless situation here was
contained, and now they want to make it worse. It's been
going on for decades."

Rebecca Dryer, an advocate for the homeless who has been
around the area the last four years, said many of those who
congregated on the cul-de-sac were "shelter resistant" and
not interested in the structure of a shelter.

"It's because they can't live their lives the way they need
to and the way they should be allowed to," said Dryer,
accompanied by a German shepherd mix. "This is America."

LAPD Capt. Charlie Beck, who has long dealt with the
homeless problem as commanding officer of the Central Area
and more recently the Rampart Area, said allowing
encampments to mushroom hurts everyone.

"There are people here who don't want any rules on their
behavior," Beck said. "What goes on here is not good. It's
not good for them and it's not good for the community,
including the businesses that operate here.

"Living on the street keeps people from seeking treatment
for mental-health issues, substance abuse or other health
problems."

Despite the short protest, authorities reported no arrests
or citations. The LAPD conducts such sweeps targeting larger
encampments several times a year, Beck said. Smaller
enforcement actions against people putting up makeshift
shelters on the street during the day take place every day,
he said.

Ben Wizner, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union,
which has filed a federal lawsuit against the LAPD over its
enforcement of the city law outlawing sleeping on sidewalks,
said the LAPD was simply shuffling bodies.

"All they are doing is moving people from one block to
another. That's not a solution," Wizner said. "Anyone who
works on any depth on this issue knows you don't solve this
problem with police.

This problem has to be addressed at its
roots. There's been so much development and not enough
attention paid to low-income affordable housing, and that's
the only way to sustain a long-term solution."

LAPD Chief William J. Bratton defended the actions.

"We will continue to do this," Bratton said Monday. "If you
don't deal with it, it gets larger and larger."

Bratton said such encampments lead to prostitution, street
robberies and other crimes.

Mitchell Netburn, director of the Los Angeles Homeless
Services Authority, a city-county agency, said that in
recent months the homeless population in the cul-de-sac
adjacent to Hayes' Dome Village had grown from about 15
people to more than 100, after Hayes invited them to use
kitchen and bathroom facilities at his shelter.

Netburn said four of those who moved out of the cul-de-sac
were placed in shelters, adding that there was plenty of
room in city facilities. Beck agreed, saying that everyone
on Golden Avenue who needed a bed could get one, and most
refused the offer.

But Hayes said the city's homeless policy was created by
those trying to preserve "the status quo."

He said he had invited those who were homeless and squatting
nearby to come to the cul-de-sac where he could "manage the
situation."

One of them was Patti, 73, a former dancer who learned there
was a space in Hayes' shelter for her. She sat eating a
cracker and butter sandwich with her dog as a bulldozer
collapsed the makeshift shelters. "Most of us aren't
criminals," she said. "Now I have a place to take my
things."

Los Angeles Times  source page: http://tinyurl.com/2uok4
_________________________________________________________________
ŠTHE HOMELESS NEWS - H.C. Covington, Editor  http://tinyurl.com/2yg2

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<DIV>City Bulldozes Homeless Camp </DIV>
<DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV>About 100 people had been living on the street</DIV>
<DIV>next to a shelter downtown. </DIV>
<DIV>__________________________________________________</DIV>
<DIV>By Andrew Blankstein - Los Angeles&nbsp;Times&nbsp;- December 30,=20
2003</DIV>
<DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV>Los Angeles, CA - A makeshift encampment a stone's throw<BR>from =
Staples=20
Center was cleared of more than 100 street<BR>people by police before a =
city=20
skip loader flattened it<BR>Monday.</DIV>
<DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV>City officials said they were responding to complaints =
from<BR>local=20
businesses, increasing crime and unsanitary conditions<BR>at the =
encampment,=20
next door to a homeless shelter on Golden<BR>Avenue just west of the =
Harbor=20
Freeway.</DIV>
<DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV>Los Angeles police had posted notices warning the homeless<BR>that =
their=20
camp would be dismantled Monday and offering room<BR>in shelters. </DIV>
<DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV>Only four of dozens displaced in the early<BR>morning operation =
took=20
advantage of the offer, authorities<BR>said. Police said they were =
enforcing a=20
recently enacted<BR>ordinance prohibiting sleeping on public sidewalks,=20
a<BR>chronic problem downtown.</DIV>
<DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV>Early in the morning, homeless people, ranging from<BR>teenagers to =

septuagenarians, gathered up their blankets,<BR>tarps, cups and =
toothbrushes and=20
stood along James M. Wood<BR>Boulevard as a skip loader, street cleaner =
and two=20
large<BR>dump trucks moved into position.</DIV>
<DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV>Watching the scene unfold, Christine Garcia, 43, said she<BR>felt =
lonely=20
and desperate after having been evicted from an<BR>area she described as =
a "safe=20
haven."</DIV>
<DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV>"I came here to live and felt like things were going to be<BR>all =
right,"=20
said Garcia, who was forced out on the streets<BR>last summer when a =
friend=20
died.</DIV>
<DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV>"I'm desperate right now, I'm scared, and this is all I<BR>have," =
she said,=20
gesturing toward two carts filled with her<BR>possessions.</DIV>
<DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV>Ted Hayes, an advocate for the homeless, tried at one point<BR>to =
block the=20
path of one of the big machines before standing<BR>aside.</DIV>
<DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV>"It's harassment, period," said Hayes, wearing a black robe<BR>and =
carrying=20
a U.S. flag. "The homeless situation here was<BR>contained, and now they =
want to=20
make it worse. It's been<BR>going on for decades."</DIV>
<DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV>Rebecca Dryer, an advocate for the homeless who has been<BR>around =
the area=20
the last four years, said many of those who<BR>congregated on the =
cul-de-sac=20
were "shelter resistant" and<BR>not interested in the structure of a=20
shelter.</DIV>
<DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV>"It's because they can't live their lives the way they need<BR>to =
and the=20
way they should be allowed to," said Dryer,<BR>accompanied by a German =
shepherd=20
mix. "This is America."</DIV>
<DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV>LAPD Capt. Charlie Beck, who has long dealt with the<BR>homeless =
problem as=20
commanding officer of the Central Area<BR>and more recently the Rampart =
Area,=20
said allowing<BR>encampments to mushroom hurts everyone.</DIV>
<DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV>"There are people here who don't want any rules on =
their<BR>behavior," Beck=20
said. "What goes on here is not good. It's<BR>not good for them and it's =
not=20
good for the community,<BR>including the businesses that operate =
here.</DIV>
<DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV>"Living on the street keeps people from seeking treatment<BR>for=20
mental-health issues, substance abuse or other =
health<BR>problems."</DIV>
<DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV>Despite the short protest, authorities reported no arrests<BR>or =
citations.=20
The LAPD conducts such sweeps targeting larger<BR>encampments several =
times a=20
year, Beck said. Smaller<BR>enforcement actions against people putting =
up=20
makeshift<BR>shelters on the street during the day take place every =
day,<BR>he=20
said.</DIV>
<DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV>Ben Wizner, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties =
Union,<BR>which has=20
filed a federal lawsuit against the LAPD over its<BR>enforcement of the =
city law=20
outlawing sleeping on sidewalks,<BR>said the LAPD was simply shuffling=20
bodies.</DIV>
<DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV>"All they are doing is moving people from one block to<BR>another. =
That's=20
not a solution," Wizner said. "Anyone who<BR>works on any depth on this =
issue=20
knows you don't solve this<BR>problem with police. </DIV>
<DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV>This problem has to be addressed at its<BR>roots. There's been so =
much=20
development and not enough<BR>attention paid to low-income affordable =
housing,=20
and that's<BR>the only way to sustain a long-term solution."</DIV>
<DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV>LAPD Chief William J. Bratton defended the actions.</DIV>
<DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV>"We will continue to do this," Bratton said Monday. "If =
you<BR>don't deal=20
with it, it gets larger and larger."</DIV>
<DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV>Bratton said such encampments lead to prostitution, =
street<BR>robberies and=20
other crimes.</DIV>
<DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV>Mitchell Netburn, director of the Los Angeles Homeless<BR>Services=20
Authority, a city-county agency, said that in<BR>recent months the =
homeless=20
population in the cul-de-sac<BR>adjacent to Hayes' Dome Village had =
grown from=20
about 15<BR>people to more than 100, after Hayes invited them to =
use<BR>kitchen=20
and bathroom facilities at his shelter.</DIV>
<DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV>Netburn said four of those who moved out of the cul-de-sac<BR>were =
placed=20
in shelters, adding that there was plenty of<BR>room in city facilities. =
Beck=20
agreed, saying that everyone<BR>on Golden Avenue who needed a bed could =
get one,=20
and most<BR>refused the offer.</DIV>
<DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV>But Hayes said the city's homeless policy was created by<BR>those =
trying to=20
preserve "the status quo."</DIV>
<DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV>He said he had invited those who were homeless and =
squatting<BR>nearby to=20
come to the cul-de-sac where he could "manage the<BR>situation."</DIV>
<DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV>One of them was Patti, 73, a former dancer who learned there<BR>was =
a space=20
in Hayes' shelter for her. She sat eating a<BR>cracker and butter =
sandwich with=20
her dog as a bulldozer<BR>collapsed the makeshift shelters. "Most of us=20
aren't<BR>criminals," she said. "Now I have a place to take =
my<BR>things."</DIV>
<DIV><BR>Los Angeles Times &nbsp;source page: <A=20
href=3D"http://tinyurl.com/2uok4">http://tinyurl.com/2uok4</A><BR>_______=
__________________________________________________________<BR>=A9THE=20
HOMELESS NEWS - H.C. Covington, Editor&nbsp; <A=20
href=3D"http://tinyurl.com/2yg2">http://tinyurl.com/2yg2</A><BR></DIV></B=
ODY></HTML>

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