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Decade-Long Homeless Encampment Under Freeway Overpass Cleared in Los Angeles

Decade-Long Homeless Encampment Under Freeway Overpass Cleared in Los Angeles

A homeless encampment in Los Angeles, Calif., on Nov. 6, 2021. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

John Fredricks

John Fredricks

10/27/2023

Updated: 10/27/2023

Situated underneath a 405 Freeway overpass, one of Los Angeles’s most dangerous homeless encampments—located near Venice Boulevard and Globe Avenue and straddling Culver City and the City of Los Angeles—was cleared Oct. 24 by officials from both cities.
“The Venice and Globe site is a unique challenge because one side of the street is in Culver City and the other side is in the City of Los Angeles,” Culver City Spokesman Dustin Klemann told The Epoch Times.
Now that the encampment is gone, according to Mr. Klemann, Culver City officials are now removing graffiti, creating more lighting, and making other repairs in the area.
Since the encampment began a decade ago, residents of Culver City and the nearby Los Angeles neighborhood of Mar Vista have witnessed drug distribution, fights, arson, and large piles of trash at the site.
On some occasions, pedestrians were prevented from using the sidewalk due to the number of tents at the location.
Men walk near a homeless encampment in downtown Los Angeles on Jan. 6, 2022. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Men walk near a homeless encampment in downtown Los Angeles on Jan. 6, 2022. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Since its clearing, an estimated 50 individuals formerly residing there have now been provided with housing and services, according to Culver City officials.
The city, officials say, has invested “heavily” to create housing for the homeless including 157 new units of temporary and permanent supportive housing.
“Culver City’s policy is to lead with care, offering shelter, housing, and services,” Mr. Klemann said.
The clean-up was part of Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass’s so-called Inside Safe program, which she launched along with an emergency order to accelerate and lower costs of temporary homeless housing, shortly after she took office in 2022, to get more homeless in from the streets.
“We are shifting the way the city approaches homelessness, and the Inside Safe initiative represents a change in how we help and house people living in tents and encampments,” Ms. Bass said in a press release announcing the program.
“The new strategy on homelessness I am bringing to City Hall replaces quick fixes with real solutions.”
But since the clearing of encampment, some nearby residents have questioned how long it will take before another homeless encampment replaces it.
According to Venice Neighborhood Council member Soledad Ursua, this is the second time she has noticed a clean-up operation under the busy overpass in recent years.
“They cleared that 405 area not too long ago ... it all came back,” she told The Epoch Times.
Unhoused individuals live out of cars and R.V's in Los Angeles, Calif., on Jan. 20, 2022. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Unhoused individuals live out of cars and R.V's in Los Angeles, Calif., on Jan. 20, 2022. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Homeless encampment clearings in her neighborhood have also occurred, including one which at one point had over 100 homeless individuals living in tents, cars, and run down recreational vehicles. Those removed from that particular encampment, she said, have since spread elsewhere.
“The encampments get cleared but then they just pop up somewhere else,” she said.
According to the 2023 point-in-time count by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), homelessness increased in Los Angeles by 9 percent and 10 percent in Los Angeles County compared to 2022.
The homeless population also saw major increases in neighboring San Bernardino County at 26 percent, San Diego County at 22 percent, and Riverside County at 12 percent, according to LAHSA.
Though the encampment’s removal has received a positive response from Culver City residents, one expressed concern for financial accountability from Los Angeles leaders who have spent billions of dollars in recent years to tackle the issue only to see it increase.
“I am grateful for the clean-up as many of these encampments are a danger to the community,” the woman, a Mar Vista resident of 46 years, told The Epoch Times.
“My hope is that there’s true accountability that follows the many dollars that have been allocated for the homeless situation.”
Since the clearing of the encampment, Culver City and Caltrans officials have fenced off the area to begin revitalization projects at the site, which are scheduled to occur over the next few weeks, according to city officials.
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John Fredricks

John Fredricks

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John Fredricks is a California-based journalist for The Epoch Times. His reportage and photojournalism features have been published in a variety of award-winning publications around the world.

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