Inside Safe operation removes encampment near Hollywood school; 45 unhoused people given assistance

Anabel Munoz Image
Sunday, August 13, 2023
Inside Safe operation in Hollywood assists more than 45 people
An Inside Safe operation was conducted at a homeless encampment in Hollywood, removing most of the tents and moving people into motels.

HOLLYWOOD, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- "It's hard when you have to think about your own survival," said Amber, one of many unhoused residents who has lived in an encampment in Hollywood.

"Where you're gonna sleep... it takes up a lot of room in your head to be able to focus on anything else," she added.

Thursday morning, the Los Angeles Mayor's Office conducted an Inside Safe operation, removing most of the tents and moving people into motels, part of a city and county effort. Officials say the program aims to promote long-term housing stability.

"I've been here for a while," said Amber. "We were all really excited about this opportunity to get off the streets."

The encampment has been an ongoing concern for some neighbors, including Larchmont Charter School across the street. One parent described her concerns with Eyewitness News back in June.

"Men exposing genitalia," said Laura Putney. "A parent being attacked, people banging on cars -- that has made it a very kind of frightening situation for kids who are just trying to get to school."

People's situations are complex, like the public health crisis impacting communities across Southern California. Eyewitness News spoke with one woman who said she is a Hollywood native, attended high school there and has been unhoused for seven years. She didn't want to go on camera but described a tough decision. She gave up her home there because she expected to be placed in a motel Thursday morning, she said.

This comes as residents and business owners in East Gardena are calling a growing RV encampment a health and environmental nightmare: "You can't make money when you're in the middle of this kind of toilet."

"They did destroy my house, my living space, but they didn't put me in the housing yet because apparently I'm on a waiting list," she said.

She said she was supposed to appear in court Thursday morning, but instead waited at the encampment.

"I decided to get a roof over my head since the roof that I did have got taken," she said.

The office of Councilmember Hugo Soto-Martinez provided Eyewitness News a statement saying in part that his homelessness team has worked to house people here for months, adding: "Partnering with the mayor's office to help even more people off the streets and on the path to permanent housing is exactly the type of work we city leaders should be doing."

According to the mayor's office, so far more than 45 people were moved inside through the program Thursday.

"I'm hoping that everything will stick through and we all get housed and, you know, everyone can start over again," said Amber.