Homeless veteran encampments cleaned up, bulldozed in Brentwood

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- With help from bulldozers, the remains of homeless encampments - most of them once occupied by veterans - were cleared out and cleaned up on San Vicente Boulevard Monday.

Tents sheltering about 40 homeless veterans had been pitched in front of the Brentwood VA for some 20 months.

Local agencies have been working to find homes and housing facilities for the homeless veterans. The furniture, clothing and debris that were still littering the street Monday were considered left behind by those who had been placed.

The veterans have been moved to temporary housing which includes dorms on the VA campus, tiny homes and housing with Project Roomkey. Some are also being housed in tents on the VA property - just on the other side of the fence from the former encampments. Those new tents on the property are meant to be temporary as caseworkers look for the right home for each individual.

The encampments on the sidewalk along San Vicente had been the subject of complaints for months. Two members of the encampments had been murdered there.

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The sidewalk is Los Angeles County property, so the Sheriff's Department's HOST - Homeless Outreach Service Team - was helping lead the cleanup operation.

"It's horrible," said Lt. Geoffrey Deedrick with the LASD HOST team. "That's why the sheriff directed us to come here, to do it, but do it right. The HOST model uses compassion and dignity. And those who have been out here with us have seen those connections."

Sheriff Alex Villanueva says a larger problem is homeless individuals coming to Los Angeles from other parts of the country, adding to an already substantial problem.

"We are the magnet that's attracting the homeless throughout the entire nation," Villanueva said.

"They're coming here. A quarter of the nation's homeless are right here in LA county. A quarter. This is incredible. It's outrageous. A lot of places are literally dumping their homeless, they're putting them on a bus. They're putting them on a plane. They show up at LAX, and we're getting the reports from LAX. You can spot them a mile away."

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