Homeless encampments along Venice Boulevard removed for beautification project

Marc Cota-Robles Image
Wednesday, June 7, 2023
Homeless tents removed from Venice Boulevard
Homeless people living in tents along Venice Boulevard were told to clear out by 6 a.m. Wednesday and warned any property left behind would be removed.

VENICE, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A massive homeless encampment is being cleared out from Venice.

Homeless people living in tents along Venice Boulevard near Dell Avenue were warned to clear out by 6 a.m. Wednesday and told any property left behind would be removed.

Later in the day, city crews were seen clearing out any tents and property still on the street.

Efforts were underway to find shelter for those living in the tents. But at least one human-rights group says the communication was inadequate, and some encampment residents don't like how the situation was handled.

"Social workers are supposed to be helping us out to get into somewhere," said Nathaniel Prenters, who was living at the encampment. "But if we keep moving, how are they gonna find us? They can't find everybody if we gotta keep moving."

Bev Weise, a homeowner in the area, says the problem has prompted her to put her home on the market.

"It's awkward living in this community, Venice Canals, that is very upscale, lovely homes and all that," Weise said. "And you go outside and you're faced with the reality of what it's like for a lot of other people."

The solution is not easy, she acknowledges.

"I think the city is trying to do their best but it's not fast enough. I'm very mixed. I want them gone - and I want them housed."

City Councilwoman Traci Park says the work is part of efforts to beautify the parkway along Venice Boulevard. She said work is underway to find shelter for those in the encampments.

Park wrote on Facebook:

"Since taking office, my team and I have been working with local residents to fulfill a longtime community wish - the beautification of the parkway along Venice Boulevard at Dell Avenue, which serves as gateway to Venice Beach for local residents and all of Los Angeles. Leading up to this work, which starts tomorrow, we have been actively working to bring the individuals living at this site safely indoors in partnership with CIRCLE, LAHSA, St. Joseph and SHARE. This is in addition to a CARE+ service day to restore public health, safety and accessibility along this important thoroughfare. We will continue our tireless work to bring people indoors."

The area along the parkway is expected to be fenced up to prevent the tents from returning.

The effort is not a part of Mayor Karen Bass' Inside Safe program, a citywide initiative she launched in December to find housing for the city's homeless.

Park says shelter options have been offered to more than 30 people in the area and so far six who qualified have received permanent supportive housing. City staff members were continuing to talk to people in the encampments to convince them to accept shelter even as the cleanup was ongoing.

"I'm sorry we took up this space here," said Marcio Harger, who was living in the encampment. "We just needed a place to live."