As Homeless Camps in L.A. County Increase, Residents Worry They Will Become Permanent

Raul Rodriguez lives at a homeless camp along West 117th and South Figueroa streets in Los Angeles. Health officials have been directed to install public toilets and hand washing stations in four homeless encampments throughout L.A. County to combat the hepatitis A outbreak. (Credit: Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

Raul Rodriguez lives at a homeless camp along West 117th and South Figueroa streets in Los Angeles. Health officials have been directed to install public toilets and hand washing stations in four homeless encampments throughout L.A. County to combat the hepatitis A outbreak. (Credit: Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

In the shadow of the roaring 110 Freeway in West Carson, Jennifer Morris stepped out of the portable restroom and washed her hands in a nearby sink.

Morris’ pajama bottoms and shirt were covered in dirt, but she said she hadn’t felt this clean in months.

Morris, 41, lost her job at a pet rescue organization about a year ago. Ever since, she’s lived with her boyfriend in a sprawling homeless encampment in the unincorporated community, the thick brush hiding rows of tents where she slept, cooked meals and went to the bathroom.

As Southern California’s homeless population has exploded in recent years, the South Bay and Harbor areas have seen their own surge, with an estimated 6,145 people calling the camps home, according to the 2017 homeless count — a 4% increase from 2016.

Read the full story on LATimes.com