HOLLYWOOD (CBSLA) — Hollywood’s crackdown on homeless encampments is creating what some say is a new problem amid high demand for temporary shelters.
L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti declared an emergency shelter crisis last year and subsequently launched the Bridge Home initiative with the goals of creating temporary housing and cleaning up encampments. Those staying at the latest facility to open, in Hollywood, appear to be happy with the initiative. Others still on the streets, however, say it’s simply not enough.
Khristoffer Benford says since the Hollywood shelter opened the city has been cracking down on street camps, pushing many people out of the area and into neighboring districts rather than offering sustainable alternatives.
“Now you built the shelter, you put everyone you are going to put in there — filled it from wall to wall. Now everybody who’s left you are going to harass them to [do] what?” Benford asked. “So now everybody left the district of Hollywood. ‘Oh we cleaned Hollywood up!’ No they just left the district of Hollywood and now they are in someone else’s district and it’s still a homeless problem,” he continued.
“A lot of people out here have mental health issues,” Dingo Simon added.
Righteous Love says she’s been staying at the Bridge Home initiative since it opened three weeks ago and says it’s a step in the right direction, however.
“I can shower when I get ready,” she said. “They feed us three times a day — meat, healthy food, I have my own space … They are also interested in our careers, our music and our talents,” she added.
That’s the case for nearly 70 men and women who are staying at the Hollywood facility.
The City of Los Angeles plans to open several more Bridge Home shelters in the next few years. The shelters are expected to remain open for approximately three years.