Concerns Raised About Homeless Encampment Near School

Homeless encampments near a Southern California school have some parents concerned that not enough is being done to get them moved.

It began with a concerned parent who alerted NBC4 to the situation at the Larchmont Charter School near Lafayette Park.

During two different occasions, there were no less than half a dozen tents lined up just feet from the entrance to the building that houses middle schoolers.

"The children have to walk by them every day to go to the bus stop and we just don't know the background of each person who is camped out in front of the school," said Dave Lopez, a parent.

The unknown about who is living here and what they are doing on a daily basis is what really worries Lopez. His daughter is an eighth grader at Larchmont Charter School at Lafayette Park Place.

"I would like to see them moved, moved to a safer place for themselves as well as our children," Lopez said.

Lopez said he cannot recall anyone from the tents ever being aggressive and he understands the situation is not easy for those who find themselves on the streets, but the ultimate care and safety for the children outweighs his sense of compassion.

The executive director of the school said by email that while supportive of good housing and other services for the homeless, the encampments pose health and safety issues for the school.

"Every day that passes increases the possibility that something bad might happen and no one wants that."

She adds the school has been working with City Councilman Gil Cedillo. Still, she insists, changes need to happen more quickly.

A spokesman for Cedillo said his office requested removal of the tents in January. That was authorized by the Bureau of Street Services and cleanedup happened March 4. Another request was made later that month and is awaiting the go ahead.

"It's best they be moved further from the school as soon as possible," Lopez said.

But it's a process.

Cedillo's representative said that unless something unlawful is going on there is no immediate removal. A 14-day notification must be given to folks on the street before any cleanup can happen.

The City Attorney's Office did not return a call seeking comment.

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