LOS ANGELES - Fewer than a dozen tents remained at Westlake’s MacArthur Park Friday morning ahead of a temporary closure for major renovations.
Los Angeles City Councilman Gil Cedillo confirmed Wednesday that 257 homeless people living at the park have been moved into temporary housing.
"I’m not ready for housing yet. There are a lot of restrictions and I’d rather be out here," said an unhoused resident who identifies himself as "John the Merciful."
The lifelong Angeleno is one of the few remaining residents at the park. The 56-year-old has been living on the streets for over three years and says he’ll look for another location to set up once the park officially closes.
The lakeside portion of MacArthur Park, between Alvarado and Park View streets and Wilshire Boulevard and Seventh Street, will temporarily close Friday for "much-needed deferred maintenance."
- MacArthur Park to temporarily close October 15
- MacArthur Park begins temporary closure as crews work to clean up homeless encampments
During the closure, the Department of Recreation and Parks will conduct electrical repairs, lighting repairs and upgrades, landscape reseeding, painting, irrigation repairs and upgrades, signage replacements and park furniture repairs and replacement.
Outreach began in January with the unhoused being offered shelter by teams with the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority and People Assisting the Homeless, according to Cedillo's office.
Residents are being offered Project Roomkey placements in hotels and motels in the mid-downtown area, said Cedillo's Deputy District Director Jose Rodriguez. He added that people living in the park would not be stopped from relocating to the north side of the park, across Wilshire, during the south side's closure, and the city will continue outreach and trash collection to those unhoused residents.
"It’s not right. Some of these people have nowhere to go," said unhoused resident Jimmy Woods who says he was cited by LAPD officers for being in the park overnight. "I’m a Vietnam veteran and if anyone deserves to be in the park it’s me."
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