Businesses hope customers return as city clears out Hollywood homeless encampment

Another large encampment sits near Argyle Avenue and Yucca Street.

Wednesday, June 7, 2023
Businesses hope customers return as city clears Hollywood encampment
Businesses hope customers who stayed away from Hollywood's unruly homeless encampment return after the city began clearing it out on Tuesday.

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (KABC) -- A large homeless encampment in Hollywood is being cleared out and placed into hotels as the city of Los Angeles continues to try to fix its growing homelessness problem.

The cleanup began Tuesday morning at the intersection of El Centro Avenue and Hollywood Boulevard near The Fonda Theatre.

The people living in tents will reportedly be offered housing through the city's Inside Safe program, which has helped complete several other homeless encampment cleanups in areas like Venice and other parts of L.A. Another large encampment sits near Argyle Avenue and Yucca Street.

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass said she is looking ahead to bringing the program to more neighborhoods.

"The next step for the program is to expand citywide. We're going to be because of the budget that was passed. That I signed a week ago. It's going to allow us to increase our capacity and go into more neighborhoods," said Bass.

Hollywood resident Walter Vera was in the area as crews were working and said he's lived in the area for the last 20 years and referred to it as "the worst he's ever seen."

"It's been probably since the pandemic, which it was understandable in the beginning, but then the city, the officials never took care of it and now, finally, they get to relocate them," he said. "I used to do sightseeing tours. My business used to operate in this intersection, which I wasn't able to do it anymore because of the homeless situation. Tourists were scared to stop by."

Jim Henderson, the co-owner of Amoeba Music, another business in the area, said his store has been impacted by the disruptive encampment as well.

"The houseless issue in the community is definitely impacting not just our business but all of our neighbors around us. There are fires. There are fights. There's turf wars," said Henderson.

The unruliness, Henderson said, causes customers to be afraid to go to the store. He hopes clean ups like the one that took place Tuesday improve business.

"We certainly get comments along those lines. Hollywood Boulevard is kind of world renowned, and obviously a big tourist destination, but when you come out you probably have expectations that you're going to see glitz and glamor and then you're kind of exposed to just really a sad scene," said Henderson.

Eyewitness News recently published a report on Hollywood homeless encampments. At the time, residents expressed their frustrations with Councilmember Hugo Soto-Martinez, whose district covers parts of Hollywood.

According to Soto-Martinez, the Hollywood encampments are listed as a priority for his team.

"Focusing first on areas that are more sensitive, perhaps around schools, or parks or where families congregate," he said.

Soto-Martinez told Eyewitness News there are 3,000 homeless people in L.A.'s 13th District with only 700 beds in shelters. At the time of the May 23 report, all those beds were occupied.

Officials would not specify what hotels the homeless were moved to on Tuesday.