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Community members demand help from city leaders to cleanup homeless encampment near park in Hollywood

By Web staff

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    LOS ANGELES (KCAL) — Community members living near a massive homeless encampment are demanding help from city leaders, claiming that their lives are continually impacted by the growing problem.

During a forum on Monday, neighbors said that the encampment, located on Poinsettia Place in Hollywood, has been forgotten as others are cleaned up around the city. Many complained of prostitution and constant fights, as well as trash, human waste and needles littering the streets near their homes.

“It’s just falling apart at the seams,” said one man who lives nearby. “Eventually it’s gonna be irreparable.”

Cellphone video taken hours before the community meeting showed barely-clothed people in the streets, surrounded by piles of trash — all across the street from the Poinsettia Community Park.

“It looks like a bomb, explosions,” said the same neighbor. “There’s garbage, condoms, needles, trash. It’s right across the street from a park where there’s kids.”

The encampment has been an issue for years, drawing unwanted attention five years ago when a large brawl broke out on the streets.

“The safety of the neighborhood is at risk,” said one of the community members.

In response to the repeat complaints, City Councilwoman Katy Yaroslavsky issued a statement to KCAL News.

“I’m extremely frustrated, too. It’s why I am so focused on bringing interim housing beds online quickly.

The fact is, Council District 5 is the only district in the City of Los Angeles that does not have interim housing beds for general population adults. The Ninth Circuit Court requires that individuals be offered shelter before they are asked to move, and the lack of available beds makes meeting that requirement extremely difficult.

But while we are working to bring beds online, my team has also been working hard with the community and City Departments to do everything we can to try and improve the situation. That includes regular bi-weekly intensive cleanings, regular outreach, and upgrades to park security.”

While those efforts continue, those living at the encampment say that with nowhere else to go, the place has become a necessity for them.

“I’ve been out here since 2013, I’ve been homeless since then,” said Farrah, who lives at the encampment. “The struggle for me is that I’m a convict, I’m a drug addict, I’m African American, I’m transgender, I have my mental health, I’m HIV positive.”

She says that all of these factors prevent her from getting the necessary assistance to turn her life around, and on top of it all, no one has offered any help.

“What we’re experiencing, it could happen to anyone,” Farrah said.

Ari is another person who lives at the encampment. He says that he and his friend had recently arrived from Illinois, heading to Los Angeles specifically because they heard they could get help.

Which is exactly what community members say the goal of Monday night’s meeting is — to make sure that City Council knows of the growing issue and the lack of attention it’s been paid. While they fight for change, and getting their neighborhood back, they also want to make sure that those who call the encampment home get the help that they need.

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