Venice Beach in LA is the flash point of the city’s homeless crisis


Los Angeles (AP) — David de Russy bikes through a sparse mid-week visitor crowd on the Venice Beach promenade in Los Angeles between millions of dollars homes, T-shirt shops, and eateries. Did. Provides reading of the other tarot card.

For the first time in about a year, he was pleased that the misery of a homeless camp, where mushrooms broke along the beach during a coronavirus pandemic, barely obstructed the view of the ocean.

“Thanks to God. It has been cleaned up,” said De Rashi, but the rest of the tent herd said he “this unpleasant feeling associated with seeing a human in that state.” Updated stuff.

Efforts to contain homeless people and get rid of the proliferated clutter are nearing completion. However, the government’s inaction and upset residents who have made the problem out of control are closely watching how the problem unfolds and whether purification will take hold.

Problems that were once primarily confined to the Skid Row section of downtown have spread to almost every part of Los Angeles. According to the latest survey conducted before the pandemic, the second largest city in the United States also has the second largest homeless population in the country. Of the 4 million urban population, it is 41,000.

Venice is disproportionately concentrated, with an estimated 1,600 homeless people near about 40,000.

This area is a flash point because of its visibility. LA landmark — The promenade is visited by an estimated 10 million visitors annually — and there is a well-known political opinion on solving the problem.

When COVID-19 broke out, the streets were lined with already-inhabited RVs, tents, bicycle collections, furniture, and sidewalks full of shopping carts. Camps emerged along the beach when camp restrictions were not enforced during the stay-at-home order.

At one point, more than 200 wind and rain-exposed tents were sprouting along sand and grass hills running between the bike path and the Ocean Front Walk, a concrete promenade. Mattresses were piled up next to the volleyball net. Tarpaulins reinforced with pallets, fences and plywood created a larger shelter. The sofa and chair acted as an outdoor living room.

The rugged bohemian beach community of bungalows has long permeated the vibrant spirit that has become the home of the wealthy in recent years as tech companies move in and sophisticated modern homes are built.

Some sort of edgy and peaceful atmosphere has always co-existed, but the concentration of homeless people makes residents and business owners frustrated and angry.

A video posted on social media showed a homeless man being shot, a man and a woman throwing wild punches and wrestling on the promenade, and a tent burning in the sand. Last month, one man was found struck by a club in a tent and another homeless man was arrested as a murder suspect.

Residents talk about intrusions and thefts and see people use heroin in the back alleys of their homes and defecate in the yard.

“This is not the way people live,” said Bradneal, a lawyer and owner of 10 buildings in Venice. “Everyone is suffering. Not only is it uncontained, but so is what is contained.”

Neil, who recently armed himself in a club and got into a car after saying he was about to be assaulted, said he was worried about his tenants.

Neil reflects the emotions of others when he overcame drug addiction many years ago and said he knew he could get to the street. But he said residents with a real interest in the well-being of those living outdoors, many of whom suffer from addiction and mental health problems, are beginning to lose empathy.

Residents yelled at city council member Mike Bonin, saying he had ignored the area for too long. Alex Villanueva of the Blush LA County Sheriff’s Office turned outside his traditional jurisdiction and participated in the discussion with the welcome of some heroes when he appeared on the promenade in a cowboy hat last month and promised to clean up. did.

“Everyone was waiting for someone to ride a horse,” said Cali Vierajak, a resident who helped form the group. A friend of the Venice Boardwalk. “It was cheerful to be a sheriff.”

Villanueva, who has been investigated by the state on suspicion of excessive force and other misconduct, has faced sharp criticism from local political groups for stepping into the city’s lawn. He called the city and county leaders of the homeless problem “architects” and refused to take a more cautious approach.

“There are times when you have to talk to people and get through the BS. This is the moment in history that the whole region says.’Sufficient. Let’s get the job done.'”

Of the 250 homeless people spoken by the sheriff’s team, 20 moved to shelters, five went to mental health or drug programs, and six reunited with family and friends. Lieutenant Jeff Deedrick said. When the city program started, they finished their work.

Two weeks after the appearance of the sheriff, Bonin announced a more comprehensive “house camp” plan that promised permanent housing for 200 people. According to city records, Bonin sought $ 5 million to fund the program long before Villanueva arrived for “Carnival Entertainment.” He said Villanueva knew nothing about the available resources and groups already working with homeless people.

As of Tuesday, nonprofits said they were implementing the Bonin program, saying that at least 175 people had agreed to be sheltered by workers at the St. Joseph Center.

One of the main questions is whether people will accept a home and stay there. Similar efforts to remove a large camp near the Penmar Golf Course (a public 9-hole course about 1.6 km (1 mile) from Venice Beach) have succeeded in clearing the area, but many. People have returned to the street.

Some people went to temporary shelters in the former bathyards. However, neighbors complained that others had set up tents outside the shelter. Some people who stayed indoors overnight maintained tents where they could store their belongings and use drugs and drinks during the day.

Bonin, the subject of the recall campaign, said one of Penmer’s weaknesses was that he offered temporary stays, but his permanent housing relied on “hope and prayer.” The lesson from that experience was to pre-arrange permanent housing vouchers for beach dwellers.

Some homeless advocates complain that migrant beach dwellers will be prioritized over those who have been waiting for their homes for a long time.

VaLecia Adams Kellum, president and chief executive officer of St. Joseph, defended the decision to prioritize people on the promenade, saying it would not necessarily overtake more vulnerable people.

“We think the public health crisis justifies it,” said Adams Keram. “It feels like a life-threatening mission. That’s how we attacked it.”

He had various emotions when he arrived in the area where about 45 tents remained, when de Russy pedaled along the beach and allowed him to report the progress of the cleanup to his friends. ..

He was optimistic that the beach camp would be removed and reassured as many people were helped. But he pondered the fate of the most resistant people and wondered where they would end up.

“We are in a new realm with new hope,” he said. “But this is not a solution to the homeless problem. It is a solution to the problem of Venice Beach.”