SAN PEDRO (CBSLA) – A longtime homeless encampment located near a vacant Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health building in San Pedro is drawing renewed focus on the city’s worsening homelessness crisis.
SKY9 aerial footage taken Wednesday morning showed makeshift tents, tarps, bicycles and debris strewn along the sidewalk of 8th Street outside the mental health facility, where a temporary shelter is being proposed, according to the Daily Breeze.
A screenshot from Google Earth dated March 2019 also showed several tents along the same block – which is adjacent to a U.S. Post Office – but Wednesday’s footage indicated the amount of tents and debris has jumped considerably.
Under a proposal from county Supervisor Janice Hahn, the building would have 40 beds with stays limited to 90 days while counselors would work to transition residents to permanent housing. The plan only envisions using the shuttered mental health services facility as a temporary shelter space for three years, according to the Breeze.
But Los Angeles City Councilman Joe Buscaino – who represents the area – told the Breeze he’s “hesitant” about having the long-awaited Bridge Home 100-bed temporary shelter set to open by April being located less than a mile away from the now-vacant site.
“I’m hesitant about having two homeless shelters in such close proximity, two sites so close to each other,” Buscaino was quoted as saying Monday.
With a population of approximately 57,000, San Pedro has seen its homeless numbers jump 24% in the last year – up to 622 from 501 in 2018, according to the most recent county data. Neighboring areas like Wilmington and Harbor Gateway saw similar spikes.