LA tears down Venice Beach homeless encampments ahead of July 4

Los Angeles city workers were pictured removing homeless encampments at the Venice Beach Boardwalk on Friday ahead of the Independence Day holiday weekend.

Outreach workers were able to persuade dozens of homeless people camped on the boardwalk to move into shelters on Friday, The Los Angeles Times reported.

St. Joseph Center, the lead agency in a program that started Monday to move the homeless from encampments to permanent housing, told the outlet that 72 people had left the boardwalk by Friday. However, some said they wanted to stay put.

On Thursday, the Los Angeles City Council allocated $5 million for interim housing on a path to permanent housing for about 200 people who live in encampments, the Los Angeles Daily News reported. 

The homeless encampments have become a virtual tent city with violent crime and rampant drug use, pushing tourists and families out. In the past five years, homeless has doubled to around 15,000.

Los Angeles is also cracking down on its sprawling homeless encampments with a new ordinance banning camping under freeways, parks or near schools, and can’t take over sidewalks.

The motion, which was passed by Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday, allows citizens who have a place to live reclaim their city – which has been taken over by the tent cities.

Sanitation workers remove trash near homeless encampments at the Venice Beach Boardwalk ahead of the Independence Day holiday weekend

Sanitation workers remove trash near homeless encampments at the Venice Beach Boardwalk ahead of the Independence Day holiday weekend

Sanitation workers remove trash near homeless encampments at the Venice Beach Boardwalk ahead of the Independence Day holiday weekend

Outreach workers had been able to persuade dozens of homeless people camped on the boardwalk to move into shelters on Friday before sanitation  workers swept in to clear out the debris

Outreach workers had been able to persuade dozens of homeless people camped on the boardwalk to move into shelters on Friday before sanitation  workers swept in to clear out the debris

Outreach workers had been able to persuade dozens of homeless people camped on the boardwalk to move into shelters on Friday before sanitation  workers swept in to clear out the debris

The clean-up comes as part of a program that started Monday to move the homeless from encampments to permanent housing

The clean-up comes as part of a program that started Monday to move the homeless from encampments to permanent housing

The clean-up comes as part of a program that started Monday to move the homeless from encampments to permanent housing

The homeless encampments have become a virtual tent city with violent crime and rampant drug use, pushing tourists and families out. In the past five years, homeless has doubled to around 15,000

The homeless encampments have become a virtual tent city with violent crime and rampant drug use, pushing tourists and families out. In the past five years, homeless has doubled to around 15,000

The homeless encampments have become a virtual tent city with violent crime and rampant drug use, pushing tourists and families out. In the past five years, homeless has doubled to around 15,000

A Los Angeles sanitation services employee throws garbage bags in a truck amid an operation to remove homeless encampments from the beach front in Venice Beach on Friday

A Los Angeles sanitation services employee throws garbage bags in a truck amid an operation to remove homeless encampments from the beach front in Venice Beach on Friday

A Los Angeles sanitation services employee throws garbage bags in a truck amid an operation to remove homeless encampments from the beach front in Venice Beach on Friday

Los Angeles is also cracking down on its sprawling homeless encampments with a new ordinance banning camping under freeways, parks or near schools, and can't take over sidewalks

Los Angeles is also cracking down on its sprawling homeless encampments with a new ordinance banning camping under freeways, parks or near schools, and can't take over sidewalks

Los Angeles is also cracking down on its sprawling homeless encampments with a new ordinance banning camping under freeways, parks or near schools, and can’t take over sidewalks

A man rides a scooter past tents as authorities prepare to begin clearing homeless encampments at the Venice Beach Boardwalk

A man rides a scooter past tents as authorities prepare to begin clearing homeless encampments at the Venice Beach Boardwalk

A man rides a scooter past tents as authorities prepare to begin clearing homeless encampments at the Venice Beach Boardwalk

Two rangers look at Dixie pulling a kart with her belongings as Los Angeles sanitation services employees start removing and cleaning her encampment amid an operation to remove homeless encampments from the beach front in Venice Beach

Two rangers look at Dixie pulling a kart with her belongings as Los Angeles sanitation services employees start removing and cleaning her encampment amid an operation to remove homeless encampments from the beach front in Venice Beach

Two rangers look at Dixie pulling a kart with her belongings as Los Angeles sanitation services employees start removing and cleaning her encampment amid an operation to remove homeless encampments from the beach front in Venice Beach

Dixie carries a box with her belongings as Los Angeles sanitation services employees start removing and cleaning her encampment

Dixie carries a box with her belongings as Los Angeles sanitation services employees start removing and cleaning her encampment

Dixie carries a box with her belongings as Los Angeles sanitation services employees start removing and cleaning her encampment

Dixie Moore, who has been living in a tent encampment along the Venice Beach Boardwalk, carries out her belongings after accepting short-term housing in a nearby hotel

Dixie Moore, who has been living in a tent encampment along the Venice Beach Boardwalk, carries out her belongings after accepting short-term housing in a nearby hotel

Dixie Moore, who has been living in a tent encampment along the Venice Beach Boardwalk, carries out her belongings after accepting short-term housing in a nearby hotel

Dixie Moore (back to camera), who has been living in a tent encampment along the Venice Beach Boardwalk, hugs her friend Brian after they finished packing up their belongs so they can move to short-term housing in a nearby hotel

Dixie Moore (back to camera), who has been living in a tent encampment along the Venice Beach Boardwalk, hugs her friend Brian after they finished packing up their belongs so they can move to short-term housing in a nearby hotel

Dixie Moore (back to camera), who has been living in a tent encampment along the Venice Beach Boardwalk, hugs her friend Brian after they finished packing up their belongs so they can move to short-term housing in a nearby hotel

Dixie Moore, right,  talks with representatives from St Joseph Center Homeless Services who will help her move from her tent encampment along the Venice Beach Boardwalk, to short-term housing

Dixie Moore, right,  talks with representatives from St Joseph Center Homeless Services who will help her move from her tent encampment along the Venice Beach Boardwalk, to short-term housing

Dixie Moore, right,  talks with representatives from St Joseph Center Homeless Services who will help her move from her tent encampment along the Venice Beach Boardwalk, to short-term housing

A man jogs along the beach as authorities prepare to begin clearing homeless encampments at the Venice Beach Boardwalk

A man jogs along the beach as authorities prepare to begin clearing homeless encampments at the Venice Beach Boardwalk

A man jogs along the beach as authorities prepare to begin clearing homeless encampments at the Venice Beach Boardwalk

A Los Angeles man carries a tent as authorities begin clearing homeless encampments at the Venice Beach Boardwalk

A Los Angeles man carries a tent as authorities begin clearing homeless encampments at the Venice Beach Boardwalk

A Los Angeles man carries a tent as authorities begin clearing homeless encampments at the Venice Beach Boardwalk

Dixie Moore, pictured, talks with representatives from St Joseph Center Homeless Services who will help her move from her tent encampment along the Venice Beach Boardwalk

Dixie Moore, pictured, talks with representatives from St Joseph Center Homeless Services who will help her move from her tent encampment along the Venice Beach Boardwalk

Dixie Moore, pictured, talks with representatives from St Joseph Center Homeless Services who will help her move from her tent encampment along the Venice Beach Boardwalk

Dixie Moore, left, removes her belongs from the beach with the help of a homeless services representative as she leaves her ten encampment

Dixie Moore, left, removes her belongs from the beach with the help of a homeless services representative as she leaves her ten encampment

Dixie Moore, left, removes her belongs from the beach with the help of a homeless services representative as she leaves her ten encampment

Dixie packs her belongings and encampment amid an operation to remove homeless encampments from the beach front in Venice Beach

Dixie packs her belongings and encampment amid an operation to remove homeless encampments from the beach front in Venice Beach

Dixie packs her belongings and encampment amid an operation to remove homeless encampments from the beach front in Venice Beach

A woman jogs past past homeless encampments amid an operation to remove homeless encampments from the beach front in Venice Beach on Friday

A woman jogs past past homeless encampments amid an operation to remove homeless encampments from the beach front in Venice Beach on Friday

A woman jogs past past homeless encampments amid an operation to remove homeless encampments from the beach front in Venice Beach on Friday

Homeless people sit next to their tents on the beach amid an operation to remove homeless encampments from the beach front in Venice Beach

Homeless people sit next to their tents on the beach amid an operation to remove homeless encampments from the beach front in Venice Beach

Homeless people sit next to their tents on the beach amid an operation to remove homeless encampments from the beach front in Venice Beach

A homeless woman sleeps on the beach amid an operation to remove homeless encampments from the beach front in Venice Beach on Friday

A homeless woman sleeps on the beach amid an operation to remove homeless encampments from the beach front in Venice Beach on Friday

A homeless woman sleeps on the beach amid an operation to remove homeless encampments from the beach front in Venice Beach on Friday

A homeless man packs his belongings from his encampment on the beach amid an operation to remove homeless encampments from the beach front on Friday

A homeless man packs his belongings from his encampment on the beach amid an operation to remove homeless encampments from the beach front on Friday

A homeless man packs his belongings from his encampment on the beach amid an operation to remove homeless encampments from the beach front on Friday

Los Angeles sanitation services employees clean up Dixie's encampment amid an operation to remove homeless encampments from the beach front in Venice Beach

Los Angeles sanitation services employees clean up Dixie's encampment amid an operation to remove homeless encampments from the beach front in Venice Beach

Los Angeles sanitation services employees clean up Dixie’s encampment amid an operation to remove homeless encampments from the beach front in Venice Beach

A bulldozer on the boardwalk drives past homeless encampments amid an operation to remove homeless encampments from the beach front in Venice Beach

A bulldozer on the boardwalk drives past homeless encampments amid an operation to remove homeless encampments from the beach front in Venice Beach

A bulldozer on the boardwalk drives past homeless encampments amid an operation to remove homeless encampments from the beach front in Venice Beach

Homeless people sleep on the beach amid an operation to remove homeless encampments from the beach front

Homeless people sleep on the beach amid an operation to remove homeless encampments from the beach front

Homeless people sleep on the beach amid an operation to remove homeless encampments from the beach front

A man rides his bicycle past a line of tents amid an operation to remove homeless encampments from the beach front

A man rides his bicycle past a line of tents amid an operation to remove homeless encampments from the beach front

A man rides his bicycle past a line of tents amid an operation to remove homeless encampments from the beach front

Los Angeles sanitation services employees clean up Dixie's encampment amid an operation to remove homeless encampments from the beach front in Venice Beach

Los Angeles sanitation services employees clean up Dixie's encampment amid an operation to remove homeless encampments from the beach front in Venice Beach

Los Angeles sanitation services employees clean up Dixie’s encampment amid an operation to remove homeless encampments from the beach front in Venice Beach

El Patricio, left, and Cid sit on a coach next to their tent facing the beach amid an operation to remove homeless encampments from the beach front in Venice Beach

El Patricio, left, and Cid sit on a coach next to their tent facing the beach amid an operation to remove homeless encampments from the beach front in Venice Beach

El Patricio, left, and Cid sit on a coach next to their tent facing the beach amid an operation to remove homeless encampments from the beach front in Venice Beach

A homeless woman walks past an encampment on the boardwalk amid an operation to remove homeless encampments from the beach front in Venice Beach

A homeless woman walks past an encampment on the boardwalk amid an operation to remove homeless encampments from the beach front in Venice Beach

A homeless woman walks past an encampment on the boardwalk amid an operation to remove homeless encampments from the beach front in Venice Beach

Los Angeles sanitation services employees clean up Dixie's encampment next to rangers amid an operation to remove homeless encampments from the beach front

Los Angeles sanitation services employees clean up Dixie's encampment next to rangers amid an operation to remove homeless encampments from the beach front

Los Angeles sanitation services employees clean up Dixie’s encampment next to rangers amid an operation to remove homeless encampments from the beach front

Rangers talk to a man on the beach amid an operation to remove homeless encampments from the beach front in Venice Beach

Rangers talk to a man on the beach amid an operation to remove homeless encampments from the beach front in Venice Beach

Rangers talk to a man on the beach amid an operation to remove homeless encampments from the beach front in Venice Beach

People watch as authorities begin clearing homeless encampments at the Venice Beach Boardwalk ahead of the Independence Day holiday weekend on Friday

People watch as authorities begin clearing homeless encampments at the Venice Beach Boardwalk ahead of the Independence Day holiday weekend on Friday

People watch as authorities begin clearing homeless encampments at the Venice Beach Boardwalk ahead of the Independence Day holiday weekend on Friday

Dozens of tents and homeless encampments are set up on the beach and boardwalk amid an operation to remove homeless encampments from the beach front in Venice Beach

Dozens of tents and homeless encampments are set up on the beach and boardwalk amid an operation to remove homeless encampments from the beach front in Venice Beach

Dozens of tents and homeless encampments are set up on the beach and boardwalk amid an operation to remove homeless encampments from the beach front in Venice Beach

An LAPD pickup truck drives past a line of tents on the beach amid an operation to remove homeless encampments from the beach front in Venice Beach

An LAPD pickup truck drives past a line of tents on the beach amid an operation to remove homeless encampments from the beach front in Venice Beach

An LAPD pickup truck drives past a line of tents on the beach amid an operation to remove homeless encampments from the beach front in Venice Beach

The measure requires second vote in late July, and orders people who resist leaving the encampments to be fined rather than arrested and that cops would only get involved if there’s a crime, KTLA reported.

According to KABC, the city council ‘will go on recess until July 27 when they will review the ordinance again and pass it without a unanimous vote required so it would not take effect until later this summer.’

It was not immediately clear why the encampments were pictured getting cleared seemingly without having taken full official effect.

In pictures taken on Wednesday, tents lined the Ocean Front Walk down Venice Beach as homeless encampments have become a common sight across the city.

As well as tents being pitched up, homeless people were also seen sleeping on mattresses sprawled across the sand ahead of the new measures, which has been billed as a humane approach to get people off the streets.

The encampments on the famed Venice Beach have only grown amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with signs posted on trees warning of a July 2 clearance of all homeless encampments ahead of the July 4th weekend.

Amid preparations for the crackdown, pictures also showed officers from the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) arresting a man, who is believed to be homeless, along the Ocean Front Walk on Wednesday.  

‘(Residents) want to be able to use their parks and their sidewalks and their libraries,’ Councilman Paul Krekorian, who coauthored the proposal, told the LA Times.

‘They want to be able to go into the entrance of their business. They want to be able to know that when they pull into a parking lot, they don’t have to worry about running someone over when they’re going through the driveway.’

However critics slammed the move as ‘reckless’, and demanded to know where the homeless people were expected to go after they were moved on from their current camps.

The measure would limit people from camping on sidewalks in ways that prevent wheelchairs users from traveling on them – a violation of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act. It will also prevent sleeping, lying or storing possessions near public areas such as schools, parks, libraries, freeways, and homeless shelters.

The ordinance before the City Council is billed as a humane approach to get people off streets and restore access to public spaces, and it wouldn’t be enforced until someone has turned down an offer of shelter.

It would severely limit the number of places where homeless encampments have been allowed to grow and become a common sight across the city.

‘There are right ways and wrong ways to disrupt the status quo and improve conditions on the street,’ Councilmember Mark Ridley-Thomas, coauthor of the measure, said in a statement.

‘I am governed by a fundamental position: Before the unhoused are restricted from occupying public space, they should be … offered a suitable alternative for housing.’

Los Angeles is cracking down on its homeless encampments with a new ordinance banning camping under freeways, parks or near schools, and can't take over sidewalks. Pictured: Encampments on Venice Beach's Ocean Front Walk on Wednesday

Los Angeles is cracking down on its homeless encampments with a new ordinance banning camping under freeways, parks or near schools, and can't take over sidewalks. Pictured: Encampments on Venice Beach's Ocean Front Walk on Wednesday

Los Angeles is cracking down on its homeless encampments with a new ordinance banning camping under freeways, parks or near schools, and can’t take over sidewalks. Pictured: Encampments on Venice Beach’s Ocean Front Walk on Wednesday

Amid preparations for the crackdown, pictures also showed officers from the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) arresting a man, who is believed to be homeless, along the Ocean Front Walk on Wednesday

Amid preparations for the crackdown, pictures also showed officers from the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) arresting a man, who is believed to be homeless, along the Ocean Front Walk on Wednesday

Amid preparations for the crackdown, pictures also showed officers from the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) arresting a man, who is believed to be homeless, along the Ocean Front Walk on Wednesday

The motion, which was passed by 12 votes to three by Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday and faces another vote on Thursday, would seek to ban tents from blocking sidewalks. Pictured: Encampment on Venice Beach on Wednesday

The motion, which was passed by 12 votes to three by Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday and faces another vote on Thursday, would seek to ban tents from blocking sidewalks. Pictured: Encampment on Venice Beach on Wednesday

The motion, which was passed by 12 votes to three by Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday and faces another vote on Thursday, would seek to ban tents from blocking sidewalks. Pictured: Encampment on Venice Beach on Wednesday

As well as tents being pitched up, homeless people were also seen sleeping on mattresses sprawled across the sand ahead of the new measures, which has been billed as a humane approach to get people off the streets

As well as tents being pitched up, homeless people were also seen sleeping on mattresses sprawled across the sand ahead of the new measures, which has been billed as a humane approach to get people off the streets

As well as tents being pitched up, homeless people were also seen sleeping on mattresses sprawled across the sand ahead of the new measures, which has been billed as a humane approach to get people off the streets

The ordinance is considered to be a more balanced approach than an unpopular motion, introduced by Councilmember Joe Buscaino in November, which suggested a city-wide ban on all homeless camps.

But an advocate for the homeless said the measure is loosely written to allow broad interpretation for enforcement and will make most of the city off-limits to people living on the street.

‘Draconian is definitely the correct word,’ said Pete White of the LA Community Action Network. ‘I think it´s impossible to comply.’

White said that an ordinance that limited where people could park RVs and sleep in cars overnight left little more than 5 per cent of streets available for parking.

Homelessness has become a crisis of ‘epic proportions,’ the measure says. It remains near the top of political agendas across the state.

Homelessness has DOUBLED in LA in past five years as the city struggles to combat the humanitarian crisis 

Los Angeles has been ravaged by its homeless crisis for the last decade, with the number of homeless people rising steadily from around 40,000 in 2011. 

In the last year, homelessness increased by 12.7 per cent in LA County because there aren’t enough homes people can afford, according to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority.

More than 63,000 people are homeless in LA County, the authority reports. 

The issue is most visible in downtown LA, where hundreds of people live in makeshift shanties that line entire blocks in the notorious neighborhood known as Skid Row.

Tents regularly pop up on the pavement outside City Hall and encampments are increasingly found in suburban areas under freeway overpasses. 

In 2015, City Council members and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that they would declare an emergency locally.

However the proposal was abandoned because the mayor wanted a statewide declaration from then California Governor Jerry Brown, who refused the request.

Four years ago, LA voters then approved a tax hike and $1.2 billion housing bond to channel investments into helping solve the homeless crisis.

That bond money has so far been used to build more than half of the 10,000 new housing units planned countywide over 10 years – but housing is still in short supply.

In 2018, LA declared a shelter crisis, which reduced construction hurdles around developing emergency beds on public land.

Then in 2019, County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and City Councilman Joe Buscaino put forward a proposal calling on Governor Gavin Newsom to declare a state of emergency over the crisis – a call that never materialized.  

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The new motion only bans camps in certain areas, and limits the involvement of law enforcement. It will also require a 14 day notice that camping is barred in a particular location and seek to have homeless people comply voluntarily.

L.A City Council districts include Hollywood, Venice, Echo Park, Sherman Oaks and Skid Row, one of the most famously troubled neighborhoods in all of America.

Three council members-Mike Bonin, Nithya Raman and Joe Buscaino, who is running for L.A mayor- voted against the measure, saying they wanted a map to know where they city’s 20,000 homeless would actually go.

‘This is not compassionate or progressive, it’s reckless. In fact, some of the most progressive cities in the state of California have a form of anti-camping ordinance,’ Buscaino said of the substitute motion.

‘This is a law that impacts every resident of this city and right now. I feel like I’m making a decision on this law without the information I need to understand the impacts of this law,’ Councilwoman Raman said.

‘If we don’t have the 20,000 beds where are people left to go?’ Councilman Bonin asked.

Councilman Ridley-Thomas said the city’s homeless population needs public housing alternatives before they are restricted from occupying public property.

Under the measure, officials will be instructed to develop a strategy that would include offering overnight shelter, interim housing or permanent housing to people who had been staying in areas where camping will be restricted, KTLA reported.

Ridley-Thomas said the measure would ensure that city officials craft a ‘street engagement strategy’ within 30 days that would limit interactions between law enforcement and homeless people, except in cases when a major crime is being committed.

‘If we truly want to make a significant impact in addressing the moral crisis of our time that is homelessness, the solution does not lie in criminalizing our unhoused neighbors for occupying public spaces, it lies in scaling up sustainable solutions to transition Angelenos safely indoors, while also ensuring that our streets remain clean and accessible -and this first begins with a ‘Right to Housing,” Ridley-Thomas said in a written statement.

A report released earlier this year by the University of California in Los Angeles found homeless rates had increased by 50% in five years.

It found the economic fallout of the pandemic has left many more low-income residents on the brink of housing insecurity.

Official figures suggest there are about 15,000 chronically homeless people in L.A. County.

When ‘couch surfers’ and others who bounce in and out of homelessness, are included, that figure balloons to 66,000.

Dan Flaming, president of the Economic Roundtable, has projected that figure will nearly double in the next four years.

‘That would be catastrophic for us,’ Flaming told ABC7 in January.

According to figures from the Los Angeles Police Department provided to the Venice Neighborhood Council, the violent robberies in the Venice Beach neighborhood are up 177% from last year.

The same period has also seen a 162% increase in cases of assault with a deadly weapon involving a homeless person.

‘Violent and property crime have increased in neighborhoods surrounding these dangerous encampments, and yet we continue to delay action on this common-sense ordinance while the city literally burns around us,’ Councilman Buscaino said.

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