Group of Inside Safe participants in Historic Filipinotown says city program lacks services

Those living at the Inside Safe motel say they're considering moving back to the streets.

Josh Haskell Image
Wednesday, April 17, 2024
Group of Inside Safe participants in LA says program lacks services
A group of 20 people from a homeless encampment in Filipinotown that was recently cleared through Inside Safe says promises have not been kept by the city.

HISTORIC FILIPINOTOWN, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- In October 2023, a homeless encampment located next to Virgil Middle School in Filipinotown on North Juanita Avenue and Beverly Boulevard was cleared under Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass' Inside Safe program.

For six months, the unhoused have been living at a motel only a mile and a half from the encampment, part of the mayor's pledge to not move the unhoused all around the city. But a group of 20 people from the Juanita encampment who immigrated to the U.S. from the Philippines says promises have not been kept by the city.

"We've had to deal with humiliating and uncompassionate conditions without a clear vision of positive outcomes at the end of the program," said LJ, a participant in the Inside Safe Program. "The mayor just commissioned an independent audit of $2.2 million even though the city controller's office already announced they're running one themselves. It feels like the city wants to hide us from the public's view instead of helping us get back on our feet."

"My mental health, dental, employment, housing ... Nothing has been done," said Jason, another Inside Safe program participant. "I would have never thought I would be more sad today than I was back then."

Those living at the Inside Safe motel say they're considering moving back to the streets, saying the motel lacks services and has made them feel like they're in prison with many rules.

So far, more than 2,500 people have been brought inside as part of the program's efforts.

In a statement, the Bass' administration said "tents across the city have come down and we will continue lifesaving work through Inside Safe. Last night, the mayor was clear that as we bring an unprecedented amount of people inside urgently, we will make improvements to our programs - and that includes services."

During a Tuesday afternoon press conference at City Hall, the Housing for Juanita campaign also took issue with the government on the Philippines.

"We also call on the representatives of the Filipino government in L.A. who praise Filipino nationals for sending money to the Philippines, but turn their backs on them when they're victimized by wage theft and housing insecurity," said Jill with the Housing for Juanita Campaign.

On Monday, Bass delivered her State of the City address, which included a call for "the most fortunate Angelenos'' to participate in a capital campaign to speed creation of affordable housing for people experiencing homelessness.

The organization PATH, which helps those experiencing homelessness, issued the following statement on the Historic Filipinotown Inside Safe operation:

"PATH is working closely with the Mayor's office, Council District 13, and LAHSA to operate several Inside Safe operations, including a site in Historic Filipinotown. Inside Safe provides life-saving resources that bring unsheltered people indoors from unsafe encampments. Participants work with our dedicated team members to address their immediate needs while they work towards individualized housing plans.

The safety and security of our participants is our top priority and we have been working with participants and advocacy groups to address the concerns some individuals have expressed. We have also outlined our process for filing grievances and raised all concerns to our leadership team. Any allegations of harassment are taken seriously and addressed appropriately. PATH will continue to work with our partners to ensure our participants have the resources needed to find stability as we continue to work toward long-term housing solutions."