MAR VISTA (CBSLA) - A controversial plan to set up temporary homeless villages in government-owned parks and beach parking lots is moving forward, though some Westside residents are worried about the potential consequences.
The LA City Councilman pushing the plan, Mike Bonin, says his proposal will help keep the city from being overrun with encampments by placing the homeless in specific areas. Nearby residents aren't convinced.
"It's concerning when you think that the kids are at the age that they could be going to the park and playing and you have to keep an eye on them," Joanna Palmieri, a Mar Vista resident, told CBSLA's Rachel Kim.
Residents say that the number of homeless people at Mar Vista Park continues grow and they're not happy with a proposal that would make the park one of several sites on the westside a designated area for homeless housing.
"I'd like to tell Councilman Bonin please do not do that. Please be mindful of the health, safety and appearance of the neighborhood," Mar Vista resident Howard Liberman said.
Bonin said that while the city is looking for more permanent housing solutions, this proposal is a temporary emergency step.
"What we're looking to do as an alternative to encampments on the Westside is create some cabin communities, tiny-home villages and some designated areas where people can set up tents with security on site, with sanitation on site, with services on site," Bonin told CBSLA.
The councilman said there are few options for the housing locations because the city is limited to government-owned properties, adding that there's little industrial land in the area and homeowners are unlikely to rent portions of their land at a discounted rate.
Some of the suggested sites on the Westside include Mar Vista Park, Westchester Park, Will Rogers State Park beach parking lot, Fisherman's Village in Marina del Rey and Dockweiler Beach in Playa del Rey.
"These are the solutions we need," the councilman said. "We can't wish or legislate homelessness away. We have to house it away and shelter it away."
Bonin stressed that the city council has not formally approved anything as of now. But the city's Homelessness and Poverty Committee moved forward today by asking city staffers to evaluate the proposed locations and report back about feasibility and anticipated costs.
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