LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Residents in one of the trendiest neighborhoods in Los Angeles are asking their councilman to address a homeless problem they say has become untenable.
In a video posted to YouTube, a nighttime fight can be seen breaking out along an encampment next to Poinsettia Park in L.A.’s Fairfax District, just one more sign of what neighbors say has become a dangerous, violent situation in the area.
“It got to a point where my wife is actually scared to go out and walk on the street,” said local J.B Afoh-Manin. “I have a 2-year-old son.”
Afoh-Manin and some neighbors decided to form a group to help address the homeless issue, to which most neighbors say they are sympathetic. However, they say the Poinsettia camp has brought drugs and crime, which have spilled over to the rest of the neighborhood.
“Because of the fear for any type of violence or any type of drug usage, what have you, or needles,” said Afoh-Manin.
“I witnessed a group of homeless people breaking into a Mini Cooper in front of my house in broad daylight,” a woman who lives in the area told CBS2 News.
The encampment in is L.A. City Councilman Paul Koretz’s district. A spokesman for his office said the situation is a high priority, and that Koretz’s office is working with the Bridge To Home program to find places for people to live.
The Los Angeles Police Dept. told CBS2 it is aware of what’s happening, and that officers are working with the city to find a solution.
Neither a timeline for the removal nor a location to house the homeless persons have been given, however.
“Homelessness is not a crime,” said Afoh-Manin. “We’re not blaming the victims here. The fact is, though, the city has to get control of the situation.”
“It’s very frustrating,” said the woman. “I pay so much rent to live here. My boyfriend and I work really hard to afford the place that we have, and I don’t feel safe.”
Koretz’s office told CBS2 another issue they’re aware of is the fact that many of the homeless persons at that particular encampment are transgender, and going to a shelter seems like an unsafe proposition.
Across town Thursday, hundreds of protesters in Koreatown came out against proposed housing for homeless in the neighborhood.