Los Angeles city officials say they are trying to “clean up” unsightly homeless camps around the city, but it’s gone far beyond seizing drugs and guns. Now the city is actively taking possession of tiny homes that some of LA’s most unfortunate residents rely on for shelter and safety. The donation-built homes are a valuable asset to the homeless community, keeping them from sleeping on sidewalks and benches. Other members of the public have complained about the tiny homes, saying they are an eyesore and a hotbed for prostitution, drugs, and violence.
City council members say complaints from constituents inspired them to take swift action, seizing the tiny homes under the city’s crack down on “bulky items” in homeless encampments. A spokesperson for the mayor says the intention is not to leave people out in the cold. Connie Llanos spoke on behalf of Mayor Eric Garcetti, saying that the long term goal is to find permanent housing for people whose shelters have been seized. “Unfortunately, these structures can be hazardous to the individuals living in them and to the community at large,” she said in a statement.
Those who have experienced or witnessed the tiny home seizures say the city failed to offer alternatives when they took away the makeshift shelters. The local resident who built many of the tiny homes, Elvis Summers removed seven of them this week – ahead of city seizures. The LA Times reports Summers “built and placed 37 tiny houses from Van Nuys to Inglewood, with help from volunteers and more than $100,000 in donations from people around the world.” Summers is disappointed with the city council’s decision. “[Removing the tiny houses is] not a permanent solution, but nobody is doing anything for shelter right now,” said Summers. “They keep just saying we need permanent housing, but it never happens.”
Estimates say there are some 30,000 homeless people living in the city of Los Angeles at this time.
Via LA Times
Images via Elvis Summers via YouTube screenshot