(KTLA) – Residents of a homeless encampment that is exploding in size along the Los Angeles city limit with Beverly Hills claim they were urged to move there by law enforcement.
The encampment has sprouted up in recent days along San Vicente Boulevard near the upscale Beverly Center shopping mall, to the outrage of residents and business owners in the affluent area.
“They’re fighting at all hours of the day. They’re doing drugs. They’re selling drugs. It’s out of control,” one Beverly Grove resident, who declined to be identified, told KTLA. “We pay so much in property tax and so much in income tax, it is not fair for us to live like this.”
Several days ago, residents reported a woman, who they believed was intoxicated, lying naked on an abandoned couch.
James Boss, who has been homeless for over a decade, told KTLA that he relocated to the area at the urging of law enforcement officers.
“They told us to come over here,” Boss said. “The (sheriff’s department) and the police department told us to come over this way because they were going to offer us housing.”
The Los Angeles Police Department would not confirm if there was a directive to tell unhoused people to move to the area. The Sheriff’s Department said no such directive was in place.
L.A. City Councilmember Katy Yaroslavsky, who represents the district, expressed outrage at the situation but did not address the allegation.
“My home is within walking distance of these encampments. What these small businesses and the surrounding communities have had to endure is unacceptable,” Yaroslavsky said in a statement to KTLA. “My staff and I have been doing everything we can do to manage the situation while working hard to locate housing and services.”
The most recent survey conducted by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority found approximately 69,000 people experiencing homelessness in L.A. County and 41,000 in the city in 2022.
L.A. Mayor Karen Bass has launched a program dubbed Inside Safe which aims to clear homeless encampments and help transition those experiencing homelessness into permanent housing.