Homeless encampment near SoFi Stadium removed ahead of Super Bowl

Dawn Toffee said she's lived in the encampment for about two years and the clean-ups happen regularly.
INGLEWOOD, Calif. (KABC) -- Cleanup crews removed homeless encampments and debris in Inglewood for the second day in a row - and some are speculating the upcoming Super Bowl is a factor.

The homeless encampment near the Century Boulevard exit to the 405 Freeway was cleared Monday and Tuesday.

Dawn Toftee said she's lived in the encampment for about two years. She said while the cleanups happen regularly, she just keeps coming back.

"Just move your stuff, when they leave go back," Toftee said. "That's how I've been doing it."

With the Super Bowl less than three weeks away, some question the motive for the cleanups. However, Caltrans said in a statement the cleanup was due to a fire safety issue.

Caltrans public information Jim Medina provided the following statement to ABC7:

"Caltrans identified an encampment at Century Boulevard on-ramp to northbound Interstate 405 that needed to be cleared due to a fire safety issue.

Caltrans' responsibility is to ensure the safety of the traveling public and to protect and maintain California's highway infrastructure. The department is coordinating with local partners to provide outreach and support including Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA).

Caltrans posted a notice at the site 72-hours in advance of the cleanup, on January 20, to allow those at the encampment time to gather their belongings and take advantage of services.

The department is collecting personal belongings left behind and bringing them to a nearby maintenance yard for later retrieval."

Inglewood Mayor James Butts also said the clearing of the encampment has to do with safety and that the city has had a relationship with Caltrans for the past three years and they regularly schedule cleanups around the city.

"For people who have taken residence on the freeway inside of Inglewood, on our overpasses, on our off-ramps and on-ramps, this is just another one of those supportive housing endeavors," Butts said.

Toftee said a crew member mentioned Super Bowl as another possible reason for the cleanup. Regardless, she believes the living conditions in the encampment made the cleanup necessary.

"I know it's people complaining about the filth," Toftee said. "Because me, myself, I'm homeless, but that was pretty bad out there."

Inglewood resident and nearby business owner Michael Acevedo said he also believes this was a regular cleanup and said it's needed because there's been a lot of fires on the freeway.

"It's good as long as they help them out and try to get them out, provide help for them and shelter and stuff, I think that'll be a good thing," Acevedo said.

ABC7 reached out to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority for a comment on the cleanup but has not yet heard back.

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