March 1, 2021 Your Source for Brentwood News

Brentwood Homelessness Update

From the Brentwood Community Council

San Vicente – After a significant number of complaints of near miss car accidents on San Vicente adjacent to the homeless encampment, the BCC reached out to the encampment leaders after conferring with AmVets, the national organization that is sponsoring the encampment with County permits for additional refuse bins. AmVets indicated they would immediately reach out to the encampment and ask them to remove debris from the San Vicente roadway, including unpermitted and haphazardly placed lane markers and a “Detour Sign” (see photo), as well as bikes and other items that have been stored in the parking lane and then falling into traffic lanes, creating road hazards; additionally, there are repeated reports of near miss auto vs. pedestrian accidents due to encampment residents congregating in the right hand traffic lane, including a wheelchair bound Veteran, as there is no ADA walkway space on the sidewalk. The encampment leaders did not offer to move items out of the roadway.

VA Programs – As of January 6, 2021, VA programs were running at about 55% capacity. Veterans who are having trouble accessing the VA may contact Janet Turner in Congressman Lieu’s office for immediate assistance at janet.turner@mail.house.gov or call Matt McGahran, Director of the VA CTRA “Safe Camping Program” on his cell phone at: 267-815-1341.

Judge Carter – Frustration is boiling over in the current Federal litigation between the Judge and City/County leaders, with the Judge threatening an enhanced Federal response to homelessness if there is not more immediate and significant progress. More details here.

St. Joseph Center – The County Department of Health Services has provided more than $20M in contracts to St. Joseph Center since 2017 to provide street outreach homeless services to the entire Westside of Los Angeles, spanning all of CD11 and other areas; however, the Chief Operating Officer of St. Joseph Center informed the BCC that it did not provide outreach services to a 9 square mile area of our community area for 3 years, including the Sepulveda Pass – site of the Skirball Fire, caused by a homeless encampment cookfire that scorched 400+ acres and damaged 12 homes. Councilman Bonin was made aware of the findings and asked if he would intervene to split the current funding to St. Joseph Center into 2 equal portions in order to allow another provider to serve half the service area; he declined. Subsequently, members of the community have filed complaints with the Department of Health Services, the Prop H Oversight Board, Supervisor Kuehl and copied those complaints to impacted Skirball fire residents.

Voluntary Homeless Encampment Clean Ups – A current City motion presented by several Councilmembers, including Councilman Bonin, seeks to create a pathway for LA Sanitation to create outreach teams to request homeless encampment residents to voluntarily agree to clean ups. The Motion indicates there are successful pilot programs in CD11 and we truly hoped to visit one in order to support this process. Unfortunately, the only site we could identify was located in Venice near the new Bridge homeless shelter and it has not been a success – . Further, the Motion does not call for LASAN to be granted any further budget to enable this program, therefore, the Motion appears to be a good effort on paper that will not likely effectuate meaningful change.

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