L.A. to launch program for more street cleanups near homeless camps

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- With more and more homeless, there is also the problem of widespread trash dumping in Los Angeles.

"We have to get in front of this, particularly the illegal dumping aspect of it," said Enrique Zaldivar from the Department of Sanitation.

A new plan calls for adding extra sanitation teams dedicated to street cleanups. These groups will be known as Cleaning and Rapid Engagement (CARE) teams.

They will patrol areas and make regular cleanups.

"No child walking to school should have to cross the street and mountains of trash. It is a sanitary issue not only for our residents in our community, but also the people who are actually living in some of these encampments," according to City Councilmember Nury Martinez.

The program also adds hygiene centers, more trash and recycling bins around homeless encampments.

There's concern about police being involved during these clean-up operations. Some say it makes the situation very tense.

"We don't need police in these encampment sweeps," said one man at Friday's city council meeting.

"If sanitation feels unsafe, maybe it's because they're destroying people's property," a homeless advocate said.

"We never want to put our employees in danger, and so, you never know what you're walking into when you walk into an encampment, there's a situation that can develop and we want to make sure our staff is protected," Martinez said.

The council approved the additional funding and the program will begin on July 1.
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