Big screen projector installed in homeless person's tent in Hollywood

Are we witnessing an "only in Los Angeles" moment? A bizarre video shows a homeless encampment in Hollywood having a big-screen projector installed and powered up inside a tent.

"It looked like a nice setup for a tent," said Austin Ryde, the man who shared the video.

Ryde, who took the video as he and his friends were on their way to a bar late Monday night, said the tent had a full power supply, a projector, a laptop and a sound system.

On Thursday, FOX 11 got a chance to speak with the man with the fancy tent setup. Pedro Ramirez, 33, insists he is not tapping into the city's lights to power up his setup.

Ramirez said he uses a generator and the WiFi comes from a hot spot.

Inside the tent he has wall-to-wall carpet, an air bed, projector and sound system. 

"It makes me feel like I'm home," Ramirez said.

He says he charges his electronic devices, including the generator, at a Metro station in Hollywood. He's been living there for about two years. 

"I'm not doing anything wrong, I'm not stealing power from anyone."

His electric generator is stored in another tent and is charged about every two weeks. 

Some could argue the tent's setup may have one-upped some Angelenos who live in actual apartments.

Ryde said that was exactly what his friend said at the time he shot the video near the corner of Selma Avenue and North El Centro Avenue.

"My buddy who was with me, he said, ‘That looks nicer than my apartment,’ Ryde said.

FOX 11 News reached out to Los Angeles City Council Member Hugo Soto-Martinez for comment. Instead of allowing us to ask questions, Soto-Martinez's office released this statement.

"While everyone deserves access to electricity to apply for jobs and access critical services, siphoning electricity from the city’s power supply is incredibly dangerous and represents a significant fire hazard, which is something we take very seriously. We work with LADWP to resolve these issues, and we work with the Department of Sanitation to set up comprehensive cleanings for the affected area. We are also having conversations with law enforcement agencies about reinforcing electrical boxes to improve public safety and address dangerous electrical issues."

Metro’s spokesperson told FOX 11 that the outlets at the transit stations are for maintenance crews, but admitted there’s no specific ordinance that makes using the outlet illegal. 

When asked if he would consider using LA City's programs, including housing, Ramirez said he wouldn't accept help.

"They treat us like prisoners in there," he said. "Before you go in the building, they're searching you with a metal detector… I signed up for housing, not for rehab or prison."

It's not the first time a lavish sidewalk setup caught the attention of people passing by Hollywood. Late last year, FOX 11 caught up with a homeless man who went viral for building a wooden house on wheels on Hollywood Boulevard.

The man's wooden home sparked a debate on whether that was ridiculous or if it was a nonissue.

"Q," the man who built the wooden home, told FOX 11's Phil Shuman back in Oct. 2022 that he previously lived in a tent but grew frustrated with the city's crews asking him to clear the area and take down the tent every two weeks.

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