Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass said a much-maligned homeless encampment in Beverly Grove is being cleaned up and its residents are moving into more permanent housing as part of the city’s Inside Safe program.
The homeless encampment along San Vicente Boulevard near the Beverly Center shopping mall has been a contentious subject for residents of Beverly Grove, with reports of drug use, intoxicated individuals and violence.
In April, several unhoused individuals who spoke to KTLA claimed they were told to move to the area by law enforcement officials. Neither the Los Angeles Police Department or Sheriff’s Department has confirmed that claim, with the Sheriff’s Department explicitly denying any directive.
The encampment has been considered a blight by people who live around the area, but those who have been forced to call it home say they have nowhere else to go.
This week, that changed.
Many of the residents within the encampment were moved out and into converted housing as part of the Inside Safe program, a lynchpin of Bass’s plan to address homelessness, which was one of her major goals when she assumed the mayor’s office. Inside Safe moves people from the streets into temporary or long-term housing, often inside converted motels.
Bass was at the encampment this week and said the program is working successfully and now needs to be rolled out citywide.
L.A. City Councilmember Katy Yaroslavsky, who represents the district where the encampment is located, said its a priority of both hers and the mayor’s that the encampment doesn’t just come back at a later time.
“We brought 26 people into motels,” Yaroslavsky said in a recorded message. “Connecting them with services, getting them storage for some of their stuff, making sure they have access to transportation to get to appointments, jobs. We’ll provide them also with long term support in the way of rental assistance, and making sure they have a path to more permanent housing.”
Bass said the program has brought more than 1,000 homeless residents off the streets and into a better environment.
Still, critics of the program argue that not enough resources are made available to those relocated residents and that the hotels where the residents are being moved are often far from their jobs or previous community.
Bass says the city has done its best to find housing near where the residents had previously been living, but stressed that it can be challenging and often getting someone off the street is simply a higher priority.
City officials say there are other encampments nearby that they hope they will be able to clear in the near future and get those residents into the housing program.