Lawyers, advocates decry ‘cleanups’ of L.A. homeless encampments during pandemic

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Sanitation workers Jesus Sanchez, left, and Javier Villareal check a homeless encampment for hazardous materials in 2019. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Sanitation workers Jesus Sanchez, left, and Javier Villareal check a homeless encampment for hazardous materials in 2019. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

As the COVID-19 pandemic ravaged communities, public health experts worried about the deadly consequences for homeless people sleeping on the streets.

It’s a group rife with other health problems that could make it especially susceptible to the easily transmissible coronavirus. In the spring, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cautioned against disruptions such as clearing encampments, which could increase the potential for spreading the disease.

On Monday, a coalition of lawyers and advocates for the homeless complained that the city of Los Angeles was ignoring that advice by cleaning camps, putting people in encampments throughout the city at heightened risk.

“There is simply no public health justification for continuing the displacement of unhoused residents at this time,” write Catherine Sweetser of Schonbrun Seplow Harris Hoffman & Zeldes LLP, along with Pui-Yee Yu and Shayla Myers of the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, in a letter obtained by The Times.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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