Homeless crisis: Residents voice concern over idea of fence around Echo Park coming down

In order to clean up homeless encampments, a chain-link fence was put around Echo Park in 2021. Now, LA City Councilman Hugo Soto-Martinez says the fence will come down at the end of March. 

The fence was criticized by activists as a form of division, but residents say they want the fence to stay up

Many Echo Park residents told FOX 11 that the fence has provided a safer and more peaceful and cleaner environment. 

At night the fence is locked, which prevents anyone from setting up a tent. 

In March of 2021, close to 200 unhoused people were removed from the park and offered housing. The park was briefly closed as city workers cleaned up encampments. The fence was then installed around the park. 

The park closure and removal of the homeless sparked days-long protests.

During cleanup, crews removed 723.5 pounds of biological waste and 300 pounds of hazardous waste, which included ignitable, paint, sharp objects and drug paraphernalia.


Residents say when the park was filled with encampments, they witnessed fights, assaults, drug use and vandalism. And they fear if the fence was to come down, all of that would start up again. 

"It's it looks like the way it should be. It's a family park. And I think kids are feeling like they can come to a place and 
not worry that they might find needles in the playground. And I feel safer with my dog," said resident Joey Lara.  

"Without a special reason, I don’t find any clear benefit for fence down. Nothing but problems later on," said resident Paul Chong. 

Councilman Hugo Soto-Martinez has said in the past that the fence is a symbol of segregation, and it doesn't solve the homelessness problem. 

Residents say they heard it will be taken down on March 25.

FOX 11 reached out to Soto-Martinez for comment and the Councilman's office issued the following statement:

"In our recent campaign just a few months ago, we knocked on thousands of doors in Echo Park and won every precinct around Echo Park Lake with our message that we don’t have to choose between helping our homeless neighbors and having safe, clean and accessible parks.We will not let the dangerous conditions that occurred at the park under our predecessor ever return."