Clearing of MacArthur Park homeless won't repeat Echo Park chaos, councilmember says

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Wednesday, October 6, 2021
MacArthur Park homeless removal won't repeat Echo Park chaos: official
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Homeless people will be cleared out of a section of MacArthur Park, one of the oldest L.A. parks. City leaders say it's necessary to clean up the park, but homeless advocates are concerned over the plan.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- In 10 days, the roughly 45 remaining unhoused residents of MacArthur Park will no longer be allowed to live there as the south side of the park will be closed for 10 weeks.

The posts are already up for the construction fence that will keep the public out while the park's rehabbed. Cobie Manning lives and works near MacArthur Park and welcomes the project.

"As long as they have resources available for the people that they're moving out of those encampments, you have to be providing services and help because it's needed here," said Manning.

According to Councilmember Gil Cedillo's office, the city has already housed 165 residents of the park and housing is available for the homeless who remain. Cedillo insists what happened at Echo Park won't happen at MacArthur Park.

RELATED: City planning to close out homeless encampment at MacArthur Park

According to the Los Angeles Times, the closure will begin Friday, Oct. 15, and will last through the end of the year.

"We're doing this with the community. We're doing it in the daytime. We're doing it very patiently. We began in January," said Cedillo.

Susie Shannon with the group Housing is a Human Right says the homeless are being placed into temporary shelter and that the city's plan for MacArthur Park won't solve homelessness.

"What we're seeing is that the city of Los Angeles is looking at things geographically. They cleared Echo Park and now they're coming for MacArthur Park and the problem is we're not having the sickest and most vulnerable get housing first," said Shannon.

But Cedillo says the housing isn't temporary and that this is also about new grass for the park, places to sit, paved walkways, new lighting and restrooms.

"In COVID and hopefully coming out of COVID, want to make sure that people can come out and that there's going to be a place where their kids can play and their grandparents can walk around and enjoy, and that the parents have a place to go and sit and have a nice conversation," Cedillo said. "Park space in my district, because of the density, is the front yard."

MacArthur Park is divided by Wilshire and the south side of the park is where the rehabilitation project is taking place. The north side of the park is not part of the closure and will remain open.

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