LOS ANGELES - The tents stretch for a couple of blocks, from the corner of Franklin and Argyle avenues, under the 101 Freeway and around the corner to Yucca Street.
The homeless encampment is not so different from many others in Hollywood, where residents have called us to complain; but the complaint here includes this element : The Americans With Disabilities Act, or ADA, which prohibits blocking access on public sidewalks, among other things.
Retirees living at the Argyle Castle, across the street from the encampment, are complaining that they can’t walk down the street. The neighborhood nonprofit, Argyle Civic Association, has been in contact with Councimember Hugo Soto-Martinez’s office, saying elderly and disabled people need access and that the encampment is unsafe.
The Councilmember was not available for an interview, but staff members tell us they have been working on this encampment for some time, trying to get those living there to accept help. They point to the fact that they cleared the sidewalk on the other side, adding that the side with tents is cleaned regularly and are trying to deal with the ADA issues, as well as replace the wood and other fire hazards being used to build semi-permanent housing on the sidewalk.
"But the tent dwellers always come back" say residents, claiming many are here are involved in drug sales, and prefer to be within walking distance to Hollywood clubs.
That convenience may also explain the price of apartments across the street from the encampment: more than $300 for a studio, to $16,000 for a corner view unit at the Argyle House, where no one in the office was talking to media.
Off camera, a visiting family staying at a hotel on the other side of the street, tells us they are paying over $400 a night. Area residents, much younger than the retirees, say they feel for the people in the tents, but even they are afraid to walk at night.
The councilmember staffer we spoke to explains that counselors and housing advocates visit the encampment regularly, trying to help those living there and that the Los Angeles Police Department is keeping an eye on the drug problem.
No one in the tents would speak to us on camera.