Councilman's proposal calls for homeless sites at Los Angeles beaches

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- As the city struggles to house Los Angeles's growing homeless population, councilmember Mike Bonin has proposed a motion that would bring temporary homeless sites to county beaches, including Dockweiler state beach, Fisherman's Village in Marina del Rey, and Will Rogers State Beach in Pacific Palisades.

"The homeless need a place to live, but there's just so much beach and I think it's a great opportunity," said beachgoer Sonia Hsieh-Shumacher who lives in Los Angeles. "I feel bad that people don't have places to live and I can't put myself in their shoes and I want to do things to help them."

The motion would use parking lots at the beaches for single-occupancy tiny homes or safe camping.

Bonin's office didn't respond to our request for an interview, but his motion writes "Addressing our homelessness crisis requires a wide range of solutions, applied urgently and simultaneously, targeting different populations and focusing a variety of resources, across the city of Los Angeles."

"Did anybody ask the homeless what the best place was?" said beachgoer Marcella Debidda. "Because I mean, as a society we make assumptions all the time about what is best for people without asking people. And one would argue, it's beautiful. But I'm sure it's cold at night and it's not necessarily comfortable and there is no shelter when it rains. I think we can go back to history and every time people have been confined and put in ghettos there wasn't much improvement."

The motion wouldn't close the beaches, but rather allow the homeless to temporarily live at locations that are mostly away from commercial or residential areas.

Jessica Rogers with the Pacific Palisades Residents Association says she's lost confidence in Bonin after homeless encampments now occupy most of the Venice beach boardwalk.

"At this particular time when our economy needs it the most, this is an area that is of tremendous value. So this motion causes us a lot of concern for the safety of not only the homeless that are here and could be affected by this high traffic along PCH, along with the safety of the community of LA who comes to enjoy this beach," said Rogers.

In addition to the proposed homeless sites at Los Angeles County beaches, Bonin's motion has also asked for temporary camping sites at Mar Vista and Westchester parks and also at a site owned by Los Angeles International Airport.
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