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Homeless Encampment Cleanups Causing Confusion In Some Areas

WOODLAND HILLS (CBSLA) - The cleanup of homeless encampments has caused confusion in some neighborhoods since the city passed an anti-camping ordinance in order to clear out underpasses and other public spaces.

A veteran and currently homeless, Jerry Taylor beats on his drum to pass the time where he's living, under the 101 Freeway at Corbin Avenue in Woodland Hills.

"It's a long story how I got in the valley, but I can't get out. I am stuck here," Taylor said.

Just one week ago, this encampment was much larger, but city crews cleaned off the sidewalks last Friday.

Neighbors in the are said they have safety concerns, that they're worried about break-ins, assaults and other crimes. One woman said she's worried about what her young son sees around the neighborhood.

"He doesn't need to see people exposing themselves. He doesn't need to see people openly using drugs," a woman identified only as Chris said.

Some neighbors were surprised to see these tents set up again, just days after the cleanup.

"They really are important to be clear, safe and passable," LA City Councilman Bob Blumenfield, who represents the west San Fernando Valley, said.

However, Blumenfield said the city cannot stop people from camping on sidewalks here, not yet at least.

"In order to make a particular area off limits to encampments, you need to pass a separate resolution to do so," Blumenfield said.

(credit: CBS)

While that part is in the works, the councilman pointed to transitional housing offered in his district, which was required before the city could clear out people living on sidewalks and other public spaces.

"Unfortunately, we're dealing with addicts, who need help with addiction. A home is not going to make them clean," Chris said.

Blumenfield agrees and said that along with the transitional housing comes offers for mental health and addiction treatment programs.

As for Taylor, he knows living here and in 21 other spots in the west San Fernando Valley will likely be banned soon. He said he's waiting for his chance to be placed into housing.

"It's not like we want to be here," Taylor said.

Councilman Blumenfield says there needs to be a vote before they can formally make camping off limits in these areas, like Corbin Avenue and other spots in his district, which should come later this month.


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