Homeless Encampments Cleared Out of Venice's Centennial Park

The city has not provided a date on when the park will be restored and reopened for the community.

NBC Universal, Inc.

Venice's Centennial Park is undergoing repair after the city cleared the homeless encampment that lined the narrow park for months.

Made up of more than 60 tents, the growing encampment became a public nuisance, neighbors said.

Yolanda Gonzalez, a resident in the area, said she and her neighbors wrote dozens of letters asking Mayor Eric Garcetti and other city officials to clean up the encampments like they recently did along the Venice Boardwalk.

"We had a fire here. There were shootings. There were stabbings," Gonzalez said. "They defecated up on my alley, which I had to clean because they had no place to do their necessities."

City-posted signs let campers know they had to clear out by Tuesday.

St. Joseph Center social workers helped find homes for 44 of the 66 people living at the encampment.

Wayne Fishback is among the homeless people removed from the park over the weekend.

"It's cruel and unusual punishment to force people out of any public land where they are trying to get some sleep," he said.

Fishback got a citation for obstructing or delaying a city project. City crews removed his tent after he refused to move it himself.

Those who live near Centennial Park said they're relieved to be getting their park back but worry it's only temporary.

"We would like the police to patrol it regularly and enforce the provisions in the city law against no camping, no tents, and no one present at night," said Mark Ryavec from the Venice Stakeholders Association.

LAPD told NBCLA that they will work with city park rangers to patrol and ensure the park remains clear.

The police department also said that the city's Recreation and Parks Department stores confiscated tents and belongings, which can be retrieved by owners as long as they aren't contaminated with biohazards.

The city has not provided a date on when the park will be restored and reopened for the community.

Contact Us