L.A. Is Changing How it Tackles Cleanups at Homeless Camps

Two of those assisting cleanups at L.A. homeless encampments, Jesus Sanchez, left, and Javier Villarreal, make their way through one effort. (Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Two of those assisting cleanups at L.A. homeless encampments, Jesus Sanchez, left, and Javier Villarreal, make their way through one effort. (Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously Friday to revamp the way the city cleans up trash and filth around homeless encampments, approving a recently unveiled plan to reorganize and expand its cleanup teams.

Mayor Eric Garcetti has heralded the new system as a move away from a “reactive, case-by-case, complaint-driven model” that would bring more consistent attention to neighborhoods and more sensitive outreach to Angelenos living on the streets. Cleanup teams will be assigned by regions, allowing them to build trust with people in the same encampments over time.

“Instead of treating encampments as a trash problem, we are treating tens of thousands of people living in encampments as a public health crisis,” Councilman Mike Bonin said at a news conference last week alongside Garcetti and other council members.

To roll out the new plan, L.A. sanitation officials asked the council to approve 47 new positions, as well as money for additional equipment, supplies and administrative costs — all of which will cost more than $6 million. The council also is allocating more than $700,000 for overtime for existing cleanup crews, according to the sanitation department.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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