City officials and the Mid City West Neighborhood Council are working to address a homeless encampment on Sixth Street near Fairfax Avenue on a sidewalk along the north side of the Academy Museum.
Tents began popping up in the area in November, and nearly a dozen remained this week. The site was flagged for city services in November by the office of former 5th District City Councilman Paul Koretz, and the Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation has been conducting periodic cleanups, Department of Public Works spokeswoman Elena Stern said. A cleanup is scheduled at the site on Jan. 19, she added.
The sidewalk is public property and the city cannot by law prevent people from camping, but it can The public works department posts notices 24 hours prior to cleanups. While tents are removed, the department has no power to prevent people from coming back and setting up tents again, Stern said. The focus is being placed on outreach, which is ramping up via Los Angeles City Councilwoman Katy Young Yaroslavsky’s office and the Mid City West Neighborhood Council.
Yaroslavsky’s spokesman Leo Daube confirmed the site is one of the locations flagged for more outreach, which is expected to increase in the coming days. A new staff member, Matthew Tenchavez, was recently hired to serve as homelessness programs manager for the 5th District, and the encampment will be one of the top priorities, Daube said.
It is unclear what outreach services have been provided so far at the site. A spokesman for the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, which coordinates outreach at encampments, did not return multiple requests for comment. A spokesperson for People Assisting the Homeless, one of the organizations contracted by the city and county to provide outreach, said it has not been deployed to the encampment at Sixth Street and Fairfax Avenue.
Lauren Nichols, president of the Mid City West Neighborhood Council, said efforts to address homelessness are among the council’s top priorities, and how to better address the Sixth Street encampment will be discussed at an upcoming meeting of the council’s Homelessness, Refugees and Renters Rights Committee. The site will also be visited during the upcoming homeless count to determine how many people are living there and what resources are needed. Mid City West will be conducting the count in the local community on Jan. 26, from 8-11 p.m., and volunteers are being sought. The group will meet at Television City, 7800 Beverly Blvd., and will deploy into the community to count the number of people living on the streets and in vehicles. Nichols encouraged people to visit midcitywest.org for information and theycountwillyou.org/midcity_west_count_20220127_20230126 to sign up to volunteer.
“We’ll be looking at the hot spots to better understand where homeless is occurring,” she added.
Yaroslavsky is planning to join Mid City West during the homeless count.
“Each year, the Los Angeles Homelessness Count provides city and county leaders with a critical snapshot of the growing homeless emergency in our region. These efforts are critical in helping secure additional resources, delivering services to our unhoused residents and moving people into housing,” Yaroslavsky said in a statement. “I encourage all residents of Mid City West who are able to join the neighborhood council, Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority and my office in volunteering their time for this urgent effort.”
Zach Sokoloff, senior vice president of Hackman Capital Partners, owner of Television City, also stressed the importance of the count. Hackman has made Television City available as a staging site for the count since 2019, except for 2021, when the count was not held due to the pandemic.
“Homelessness is a crisis that plagues Los Angeles. The homeless count is an essential civic activity to ensure our unhoused neighbors are seen and receive the necessary resources to secure life-saving services,” Sokoloff said. “Television City is proud to partner with the Mid City West Neighborhood Council to host the homeless count and humbled to support the Beverly-Fairfax community.”
Miracle Mile Residential Association president Greg Goldin, who walks in the park behind the museum and near the encampment almost daily, said he is hopeful the city will put more resources forward to fully address the site.
“We have tried very hard to be sympathetic but firm on the problems caused by encampments,” Goldin said. “There are serious crime issues associated with these locations and trash. We have tried to do our part by doing cleanups in the community and we do call city services if we see a homeless person in need. Of course, it has come up, but the MMRA has not taken any stance on the issue of homelessness. It’s something that mystifies the MMRA. We all sort of agreed that pointing people to resources is about the best we can do.”
Nichols also highlighted Mid City West’s Homelessness Connect Days, which are held every Thursday afternoon from 1-4 p.m. in the Gardner Street parking lot at Pan Pacific Park, in the 100 block of South Gardner Street. Homeless individuals can take showers in a mobile unit and receive information about resources that are available. Nichols said she plans to connect people from the encampment on Sixth Street with those services.
“The mini-connect days are one of the things we are doing and I hope people are using it,” she said. “With the homeless count, there are more than 30 census tracts we will cover, including that encampment. That will be one of the zones, and ideally, we can increase the response there.” clear items blocking sidewalks during cleanups. The sidewalk on Sixth Street appeared to blocked in photos taken on Jan. 12. When city crews find personal belongings blocking a sidewalk, the property owner is asked to voluntarily remove them to clear passage and if they do not comply, the personal belongings are “bagged, tagged and stored,” Stern said.
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