LA residents frustrated in efforts to battle RV, homeless encampments

Josh Haskell Image
Thursday, June 6, 2024
LA residents frustrated in efforts to battle RV, homeless encampments
Some Los Angeles residents are taking matters into their own hands to combat homelessness in their own neighborhoods.

PLAYA VISTA, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- There's growing frustration by Los Angeles residents over the worsening homeless crisis.

"I'm a little worn out watching City Council stand by and not take action. This is their responsibility and there are children whose lives are being impacted as a result of their inactivity," said Bradley Zacuto, the headmaster of Westside Neighborhood School in Playa Vista.

Some are taking matters into their own hands.

In Beverly Grove, a resident had a structure built to prevent the return of an encampment.

In Hollywood outside the famous recording studio Sunset Sound, the business set up planters to keep a homeless encampment from blocking their gate.

And the same thing happened last week in Playa Vista when metal tubs were bolted to the street to prevent RVs from returning to one of the most problematic RV encampments on the Westside.

Those responsible for the planters were cited and the tubs were removed.

"A sense of understanding, of how frustrating and angry constituents are with the circumstances and the fact that in so many places, these problems have persisted for years without effective intervention," said Los Angeles City Councilwoman Traci Park.

Park, who represents Playa Vista, says although she doesn't support the planters, she's frustrated too. Park introduced a "vanlord" motion last August that would crack down on RV and vehicle encampments near sensitive areas, but it hasn't been scheduled for committee.

"If the city of Los Angeles doesn't get serious about doing long-term solutions and interventions and getting these vehicles off the streets and the individuals in them into safer settings to keep our streets and sidewalks clear, we will continue to see incidents like this happen all over the city," Park said. "And I worry as people lose patience and get frustrated and take matters into their own hands, we see the potential for things to escalate and potentially get violent."

Although there are only three RVs on Coral Tree Place right now in Playa Vista, Zacuto expects more to return based on what the encampment has looked like the past six years.

"Some of these RVs aren't even inhabited by the people who own them. The beds inside are being rented out almost on a nightly basis. You see on the sidewalk where they've broken in through the concrete to get to the city wiring. There've been fires. We've had fatalities," said Zacuto.

Park said she's heard her vanlord motion will be scheduled before the council recess in July. But for the time being, there are not enough tools in place to keep RV encampments away from schools.