KOREATOWN (CBSLA) — After years of letting the homeless build camps and sleep on public sidewalks, Los Angeles may soon say no more.
Take a walk or drive through Koreatown and you’ll notice homeless encampments dotting the streets.
Gage Maverick gets an up close look at them because he uses public transportation.
“I pass by a lot these encampments. A lot of these homeless areas. A significant concentration of homeless people. On a daily basis,” said Maverick.
Since 2007, the city has allowed people to sleep on sidewalks overnight, following a court battle. A settlement was reached because the city didn’t have enough homeless shelters at the time.
In the Fairfax District neighbors complain overnight sleeping has led to fights among the homeless.
Mayor Eric Garcetti wants to get people off the sidewalks. City Hall says 1,250 units have been built for the chronically homeless across the city. That number fulfills the requirement in the settlement to allow police officers to cite or arrest anyone sleeping on a sidewalk.
“He ain’t trying to do nothing,” said one homeless man.
The homeless man and his friend Lester Evans say using the police to ban sidewalk sleeping is a waste of police resources.
“Sweeping guys off the street when they can be solving real crimes? C’mon man. That’s not a solution man. That don’t work,” said Evans.
“I just think it’s crazy to be talking about law enforcement and what law enforcement can or can’t do when the problem isn’t a law enforcement problem,” said Adam Murray of the Inner City Law Center.
Critics says the city needs to address issues like affordable housing and mental health. But the mayor’s office says a series of temporary homeless shelters are set to go up across the city.
The hope is to get people into them and if they choose to stay on the street using the LAPD would be the last resort.
“If you offer them somewhere to go and they say no, it’s kinda on them,” said Maverick.