LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — A Monday morning clean-up in downtown Los Angeles didn’t have quite the effect some residents wanted.
Cleaning crews took to the streets with shovels and brooms as they cleaned areas around Grand Park and City Hall, but as soon as the crews left, a group of homeless people set up their tents once again.
“They, a couple of months ago, started this cleaning process thing, which might have been necessary at City Hall, but it really isn’t here,” Phillip Hahn said of the sidewalk along First Street where he and several others live. “They walk up and (say), ‘Oh, we’re cleaning up, get back,’ and they’ll take everything they own. It’s devastating.”
Hahn said he chose to live on the street about a year ago because the mental health system had failed him.
Outreach workers say they use the clean-ups as an opportunity to get people off the streets, but some argue the efforts are useless.
“If the city had that concern, they could do something about making hygienic places for people to use the restroom given that there are clearly so many people here,” Lloyd Handler, who works downtown, said.
One man who lives three blocks down from City Hall said he’s angry at how long it’s taken the mayor to help.
“This is disgraceful,” he said. “All these building going up, hundreds of millions of dollars, and we can’t help the homeless?”
There’s even a recall effort asking Mayor Eric Garcetti to step down over the reported 16 percent jump in homelessness city-wide since last year.
And while Hahn said he appreciates the periodic clean-ups, he says he and others will be back to their spots as soon as the crews are gone.