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Hollywood Hills homeless encampment cleared

October 27, 2010 9:54:33 PM PDT
Complaints from neighbors have prompted a daylong effort by deputies to remove dozens of homeless people from their encampment near the Hollywood Bowl. That encampment was above the southbound Hollywood Freeway at Highland Avenue. John Talbot has been homeless for years. He's been living in a makeshift hut strung together by just about anything providing shelter in the hills next to the Hollywood Bowl.

"Probably about three weeks," he's lived there, said Talbot.

Wednesday morning, L.A. County Sheriff's deputies, along with state rangers with the Conservation Authority, rounded up the less-fortunate, like Talbot and many others living in the hills abutting the Hollywood Bowl and the Cahuenga Pass. Part of the road was shut down during the effort. The encampment was taken down. Caltrans hauled off truckloads of trash from the area.

"There's been numerous homeless people living up there, there's been some thefts going on in the area, panhandling," said L.A. County Sheriff's deputiey Johnie Jones. "People bathing in residents' pools. And one of the major reasons is it's starting to get cold now so people are starting to light fires up on the hill and there's a constant risk of fire."

Near the homeless encampment area, officials set up a staging area for the homeless to get much-needed help, including shelter and other resources. Talbot accepted the help.

"I hadn't had a shower in three or four days and they were providing a shower for me," said Talbot.

He got canned goods and water. Officials said some of the homeless have been living in the hills next to the Hollywood Bowl for at least a decade, if not longer.

"I think it's good. There should be alternatives for people out on the street," said "Don," a homeless man.

Don has been roughing it on the streets for nearly a decade and says he's tired. He wants to get off the streets.

Officials say they put out the word more than a week ago that the encampment would be taken down. The say dozens of homeless people left soon after and roughly half a dozen were forced to leave Wednesday morning.

Redolpho Salinas is with People Assisting The Homeless (PATH).

"Being here in Hollywood with excessive media and wealth that there is in the community, we have a responsibility to every single person, whether they are standing on Sunset panhandling or living in a tent on top of the hill," said Salinas.


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