Southern California

Mayor of LA Announces Plan to Clean Up Homeless Encampments

The Mayor of Los Angeles, amid growing rancor and a push to recall him from his post over the handling of the homelessness epidemic, announced his plan Tuesday to clean it all up.

Mayor Eric Garcetti's afternoon news conference with Councilmen Mike Bonin, Paul Krekorian and Curren Price, comes in the wake of  ⁦NBCLA⁩ I-Team reports on the city's trash, rat infestations, and filth from homeless encampments.

Tuesday the Mayor credited "good journalism" with exposing the health hazards splintering from the growing homelessness issue in LA.

The plan cites that the city of LA will begin deploying CARE teams in each district and by the LA River.

Garcetti first said anyone could already call 311 to get help from the city in cleaning up a pile of trash next to a homeless encampment, and this service will not change. 

Now, with the help of CARE teams, along with the crews who are committed to daily trash pickup, the city will also deploy mobile hygiene stations.

CARE plus teams will also be dedicated to  comprehensive cleanup in the homeless encampments themselves. 

CARE teams will also make an effort to get to know the housed and homeless people in each neighborhood. Garcetti said these teams will be able to provide focused care for the homeless population, and possibly help provide them with information on how to obtain other necessary services, such as mental health care.

"It's not rocket science. It's skyrocketing rent and low wages, or underemployment," said councilman Mitch O'Farrell. 

Mike Bonin, who sits on the Homelessness and Poverty committee, said it is the city's responsibility to make the public aware that though the plan has been announced, it will not happen overnight. 

He said money has been spent on a program that no one was really happy with, which is why the plan created by the Department of Sanitation and touted by Garcetti Wednesday is important. 

"What we're doing today is a fundamental rethinking," he said. 

"When someone is living on the street, there's trash they will generate. So lets provide trash receptacles," Bonin said. "We need to make public health the priority, and that's what we're doing."

While currently a homeless person's belongings can't be removed from the street without a proper place to store it, Garcetti and the councilmembers didn't specifically address illegal dumping.

A day before, a group of voters took the first steps to recall the mayor over the handling of the homelessness issue and health concerns from the encampments.

The mayor said the attempt is a political stunt.

See the latest in NBCLA's coverage here on the homelessness crisis in Southern California. 

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