VAN NUYS, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The outreach team from the homeless nonprofit, Hope the Mission, spent the day at an encampment site with Imelda Padilla and Marisa Alcaraz.
The two candidates are running in the L.A. City Council District 6 special election to replace Nury Martinez after she resigned amid controversy over a leaked audio recording making racist comments.
"I think it's a challenge to try to translate policy from real-life issues and obstacles on the street. We really wanted them to be able to take an experience like this and integrate it into their work," said Jeremy Drake, Director of Strategic Philanthropy for Hope the Mission.
"They are well-versed on how to get the conversation started, which is why I'm excited to be here, is to learn from them so we can start a productive conversation," said candidate Imelda Padilla.
"I'm excited to be here to hopefully talk to some of the individuals here and find out what we can do as a city to better help them," said candidate Marisa Alcaraz.
The encampment runs along the intersection of Van Nuys Boulevard and Aetna Street. The outreach team says there are more than 50 tents and approximately 75 residents living on the sidewalk.
"It stands out as what we're dealing with right now. So having the ability to be on the street, get a sense for this I think for them is really valuable," Drake said.
The candidates had the opportunity to engage with some of the unhoused Angelenos. They relayed information about the services that are available to them and also helped pass out hygiene kits filled with water, snacks and medicine.
"I was very surprised and I'm flattered by some of these individuals willing to be vulnerable and admit to us what their next steps are. Because what everyone is talking about is there are just not enough beds. We have to figure this out," Padilla said.
"Some of these makeshift structures have been abandoned for some time. So, I think we need to as a city better coordinate with our outreach teams to try and clean up and make sure these areas stay as clean as they possibly can," Alcaraz said.
The runoff election between both candidates will be held on June 27. For more information, visit lavote.gov.
Follow Amanda on social media: