Beverly Grove homeless encampment remains despite vows from LA city leaders to address crisis
LOS ANGELES - The homeless encampment in Beverly Grove along San Vicente Boulevard has captured a lot of attention, and despite vows from city leaders to address the encampment, residents and business owners say the encampment has grown.
On April 18, Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass told FOX 11 she planned to meet directly with residents and business owners in the area.
"My message to them is going to be direct because I'm going to go talk to them specifically, but my message would be help is on the way. The issue is getting the rooms in that area and if not there, then in another area," Bass previously said in April.
Yet, two weeks later, residents and business owners tell FOX 11 that the encampment has grown.
PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Homeless encampments in Beverly Grove impacting business for some
"We're still waiting. She [Bass] said she was going to come and personally speak to us, and I haven't seen her. It's [the encampment] still here and more people come by the day. A lot of them are pulling luggage. I saw a couple that looked like they just came from the airport a couple of weeks ago," said Joe Fucillo, a resident who lives near the encampment.
Fucillo said the residents have been experiencing problems from the encampment.
"They're coming onto our property, which is supposed to be a crime, to steal our water, to go through the garbage. They steal bikes regularly. Where are these people coming from?" said Fucillo.
Fucillo said he moved to the neighborhood in September 2021.
"It was quiet. There wasn't a single tent or I wouldn't have moved in here. When I went outside, there were families walking around, people walking their dogs. It was quiet and boring in a good way, and now I'm afraid to go out without my pepper spray," said Fucillo.
Fucillo said the encampments started in January 2022. The encampment along San Vicente Boulevard went viral when a photo circulated of a naked woman lounging on a couch.
"The couch is gone, but the people are still here and there are more of them coming. They're supposed to be gone by now. We need no camping signs, so the police can enforce it because without them, the police can't do much," said Fucillo.
Dr. Kenneth Wright, a physician and surgeon, has been working out of an office in the neighborhood for 22 years.
"For the last year and a half to two years, there's been encampments on both sides of our office building. Patients are afraid to come in. Many of them have psychiatric problems, drug problems, and they're screaming profanities. They [unhoused people] defecate in our planters, defecate in the parking lot and it's gotten to the point now that I had to leave. My office staff is afraid. They're afraid to come to the office. They come in pairs," said Wright.
Wright now has his office in Torrance after a fire one month ago cost him $25,000 in damages.
"Unfortunately, it gets really cold at night and they have to use a burner or some type of flame. The whole encampment [next to his office] went up [in flames] and we had $25,000 in damages. The fire department had to break into our office so we wouldn't lose the office. It's so sad for the people that are homeless and it's a tragedy for the community," said Wright.
Councilwoman Katy Yaroslavsky's office released the following statement:
"The situation is becoming increasingly tenuous for both the unhoused folks living there and for residents and businesses in the area, and it is unacceptable. We've been able to connect six people to interim housing, and we’ve been able to provide mental health services to several more. At the same time, we're continuing to look for places where the rest of the unhoused population can go so we can move more people inside quickly. We're collaborating on a daily basis with Mayor Bass' team and doing everything we can, using all the tools in our toolkit, but unfortunately there are no easy or quick solutions."
"I think they have $2 billion for homelessness, and they did six people. Are you kidding me?" said Wright.
Residents are hoping more action can be taken to provide housing.
"It's an immediate problem and we need an immediate solution from our city councilperson and the mayor," said Fucillo.