Some Residents Push Back Against New Plan to Offer Safe Camping for Homeless in LA City Parks

2 months ago 13
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The LA City Council is considering a program that could conception disconnected parts of nationalist parks for harmless and unafraid camping sites for radical experiencing homelessness. And the quality isn’t sitting good with country residents.

Westchester Park and Mar Vista Park are 2 of the suggested locations successful a feasibility survey requested by LA Councilman for District 11 Mike Bonin. Neighbors successful Westchester constituent to picnic tables, shot fields and parking tons each cramped with tents that grew exponentially during the COVID pandemic.

“No substance wherever they enactment harmless camping successful Westchester Park, it’s going to impact us,” says Beth O’Rourke, a younker sports manager for West Side rugby clubs. “We’ve witnessed nationalist urination, we’ve witnessed feces connected the field, astir the field. The restrooms are unusable for an big fto unsocial a child.”

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The City of LA’s Recreation and Parks Department has been renovating the fields successful caller weeks but immoderate residents accidental the tents that enactment the perimeter beryllium the precedence is not connected the kids who usage the park, but connected the stateless who maltreatment it.

“I don’t consciousness similar they respect that this belongs to everybody. Just to them,” says Becca Prismantis, a Westchester nonmigratory who says she’s had to instrumentality her kids to adjacent cities for their lacrosse teams.

Earlier this year, Bonin requested a feasibility survey for an alternate to the encampments and suggested a information of Westchester Park and Mar Vista Park. NBC4 viewers shared photos showing encampments had taken implicit the softball infields.

“What we are proposing is let those who are determination present to beryllium successful a definite section,” Bonin explained during a metropolis assembly gathering successful May. “Give them security, sanitation, the services, get them into lodging portion restoring the remainder of the parkland to general, nationalist use.”

But immoderate parents accidental the harm is done; teams person had to determination to different parks, parents person had to permission their location neighborhoods to instrumentality their kids to play – and each due to the fact that they don’t consciousness harmless successful their own, section park.

“I spot things being taken over, I spot it’s conscionable retired of control,” Prismantis says.

But Stephanie Tatro says she has 2 young children she brings to the parkland often and feels precise safe, adjacent astatine night.

Tatro is co-founder of the section non-profit Grass Roots Neighbors and she says she’s gotten to cognize galore of those who telephone Westchester Park home.

“I spot a batch of useage happening astatine this parkland arsenic good arsenic I spot the folks surviving present who are unhoused and who are trying to get onto the adjacent measurement of their beingness and marque circumstances better,” Tatro says.

She believes the parkland is large capable for kids and the unhoused alike and denies immoderate information lurking nearby.

“I don’t spot however the tents are inhibiting access. Complete entree is available,” she says.

But arsenic the NBC4 I-Team archetypal reported connected May 20, transgression is connected the emergence adjacent LA’s parks and schools wherever stateless encampments abound. NBC4's cameras caught fights, weapons being utilized to harass and endanger stateless radical and aggravated parents implicit what they accidental is the city’s deficiency of involvement successful addressing the basal causes of homelessness.

Six days aft the NBC4 report, Bonin made his transportation to metropolis assembly to connection up parkland abstraction to stateless neighbors.

“I volition gladly instrumentality immoderate of these things disconnected the array if radical tin suggest amended solutions,” helium challenged constituents and colleagues successful that May meeting.

Parents successful Westchester accidental they bash person an idea.

“A antithetic solution would beryllium to nonstop them oregon determination them to a determination which doesn’t instrumentality distant from the children,” O’Rourke says. “It’s similar the stateless are allowed to unrecorded present but the children are not allowed to play here.”

The results of the feasibility survey are expected successful aboriginal August. Some residents reason it won’t beryllium capable due to the fact that the survey doesn’t instrumentality into relationship the assemblage interaction of specified a plan, which they reason would beryllium a non-starter.

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