"If you use the method of just putting people on a bus and shipping them away, I guarantee you that area will repopulate."
LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass told Eyewitness News an Inside Safe operation is in the works for the problematic homeless encampment in Beverly Grove, but that the encampment won't be cleared until the city finds housing for every person living there.
"If you use the method of just putting people on a bus and shipping them away, I guarantee you that area will repopulate with those same people," said Bass.
The encampment sits along San Vicente Boulevard, just south of the Beverly Center. One business owner recently told Eyewitness News she wants city officials to take action after a naked woman was seen lying on a couch at the encampment.
It's not just business owners upset. Residents and even the unhoused are becoming increasingly frustrated about the situation.
"The citizens are the ones pushing us out more than the cops," said Randy Lee McGill, who lives in the encampment, during a recent interview with ABC7. "They don't want us around."
"We haven't gone to that area," said Bass. "We haven't gone to clean it up, but I will tell you that as we speak, we are searching for the motel rooms so we anticipate that being cleaned up very soon. We are operating with the utmost urgency. We consider that a very severe problem that is growing. We want to stop that growth. We want to move those people and we are going to do that."
Debora Van Kallen, who owns a business in the area, said the city will come and clean up and days later, the encampment returns.
"Like someone's on the sidewalk right now," she said. "I'm sure she's trying to do the best she can, but it's too long. We need these people out."
Van Kallen and Julie Hopkins, another business owner, said although there's been tents in the area for three years, the situation has grown worse in recent weeks with a rise in violence.
"I just leave earlier now," said Hopkins. "Put all my things in the car first and then run out the door. Mostly impacted by the fear of possible violence because a lot of people have been threatened."
"It's scary when you're coming to the business and you have someone yelling and screaming and yelling obscenities and you're trying to get out of your car," said Van Kallen. "Do you feel safe? I don't feel safe."
So far, the city's Inside Safe program has relied on motel rooms for temporary shelter after an encampment is cleared and then permanent housing is next.
But, not every council district, like the 5th district where the Beverly Grove encampment is located, has motels.
In Bass' new budget, the mayor has asked the council to take a citywide approach to solving homelessness, providing $250 million to Inside Safe.
"We want to make sure that we preserve the $250 million for Inside Safe. We want to make sure that that's not chopped up and divided 15 ways. That would be an example of how things might have been done in the past," said Bass.
Bass said she knows it's hard to ask Angelenos to be patient as the encampments need to go, but points out that tents haven't returned to previous Inside Safe locations, which is why she believes this housing-first approach works.