HOLLYWOOD (CBSLA.com) A Hollywood haven for the homeless is growing and many residents in the area say not so fast.
“It started off as a few tents, and now it’s pretty much equivalent to a dumping ground,” says Heather Nicole.
She and other area residents spoke about the growing problem to CBS2’s Kristine Lazar.
The encampment is on private property and the city explained to Lazar that it why it’s taking a while to clean it up.
If you drive north on Cahuenga through Hollywood, parallel to the 101 freeway. you’ll see the encampment. It’s hard to miss. It’s filled with trash, tents and tarps.
“And you know when it gets cold, people living in the encampment light up and all it takes is one mistake and it will rip up the hill and another fire,” Nicole added.
Nicole is the head of the Cahuenga Pass Neighborhood Watch program. She says people who live in the surrounding neighborhoods have been trying to get the encampment cleaned up for months. With no success. So it keeps getting bigger.
Francoise Coster worries about her safety.
“They’re encamping there but they’re also spreading out and coming into these little cove neighborhoods. Theft has gone up,” says Francoise Coster, who worries about her safety.
The encampment is on private property and the man who owns it says he was initially okay with people living here- but as of yesterday he asked them to leave.
“I also feel sorry for the homeless and I also feel bad that the homeless have moved in,” said Ben Forat, the owner.
The property owner, Ben Forat also owns a car wash in Studio City. He says he tried to develop the property years ago. He showed Lazar an artist rendering of the project. Forat says he initially had city approval, but then he says- neighbors in Hollywood complained and his permits were denied. Forat is unapologetic about allowing the homeless to live on his property.
“That’s what you’re gonna get when you shoot down a $299 million protect that was proposed for the site. This is what you’re going to end up with,” Forat said.
Lazar talked to one homeless veteran who has been living here. He says they came here after being pushed out of another encampment on the other side of the 101.
He understood why neighbors are complaining.
“I wouldn’t want to look out my window and see this. Really I wouldn’t, but right now there is no place where we can really go,” said Doc Elliot.