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Boulders Block Homeless Encampments In Koreatown Neighborhood

KOREATOWN (CBSLA) - In an effort to keep homeless encampments from sprouting up, someone in a Koreatown neighborhood placed boulders on the sidewalk.

KTown Boulders 2
Jan. 31, 2022 (CBSLA)

The walkway and access driveway to Shatto Park was blocked by 26 boulders that neighbors in the area said showed up after a homeless encampment was cleaned out. While advocates for the unhoused said actions like these limit where homeless people can sleep at night, some neighbors said it's much safer this way.

No one in the Koreatown neighborhood seemed to know where exactly the boulders came from.

"Literally, one night, overnight, they were gone and these boulders were here. So, I have no idea who did it or where it came from," said neighbor Christy Campos.

Campos lives down the street and walks through the area on a daily basis. She said she's angry that the boulders were put on the sidewalk.

"I feel distraught because I don't know what happened to these people, if they're better off or worse off, if they got the resources that they might need," Campos said.

However, some homeowners in the area said that when people and tents used to fill the space, there were fights, trash and fires. Several homeowners did not want to appear on camera for this report, but said they'd rather have the boulders over people living along the sidewalk.

"Yeah, very much, much better," neighbor Jay Yoon said when asked if it's better without the homeless living on the sidewalk.

Yoon planted a garden in front of his home a few years ago to keep people from sleeping there. He recently did the same for his neighbor, purposefully planting cactus and other prickly plants.

"A lot of problems. First, this area got dirty," Yoon said.

RELATED: LA Councilman Introduces Measure To Ban Homeless Encampments

Driving around the neighboring streets, there were several other encampments nearby.

Some neighbors suspect that after the city appeared to dismiss or ignore complaints about the homelessness issue, someone paid out of pocket for the boulders on Westmoreland Avenue.

Neighbor Neana Hudson said she feels safer with the boulders where they are, but at what cost.

"At the same time, you kind of feel bad. If somebody slept there, they probably had no where else to sleep," she said.

Similar tactics have been used to block the homeless in other parts of the city, and we've seen boulder and even planters removed by the city for lack of permits.

Asked for comment, Karly Katona, the 10th Council District Caretaker, told CBSLA:

"Our office was recently made aware of the boulders placed on S. Westmoreland Ave in Koreatown. This area is new to the 10th District as a result of the recent redistricting process at the City. We are working the relevant City departments to determine the appropriate next steps."

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