City Crews Clear Little Tokyo Homeless Encampment Amid Protests

Los Angeles city authorities cleared out a large homeless encampment in downtown’s Little Tokyo on Thursday evening and Friday morning

Dozens of homeless people living in an encampment at Little Tokyo’s Toriumi Plaza were given a 10 p.m. Thursday deadline to relocate. Protestors gathered Thursday morning to express their disagreement with the city’s decision to clear the area, according to CBSLA.

Several Twitter users reacted to the move, as well as to a separate, allegedly fake protest that was conducted just outside the encampment.

After a fence was placed around the plaza, city cleanup crews removed remaining items and debris. In response, some homeless people set up their tents alongside sidewalks just outside the fence.

Friday morning’s report estimated that 81 people who had been occupying the encampment at Toriumi Plaza had been moved to temporary housing. L.A. City Councilman Kevin de Leon told CBSLA that they had all been offered motel rooms.

“For some of them, we need the L.A. County Mental Health Department to really step up and do what’s necessary to get these individuals, because, if you’re running down the street half-naked, and you’re screaming and yelling at the top of your lungs, you’re not well, and you need help,” De Leon added.

According to De Leon, more than 130 police and fire calls have been dispatched to the plaza in the last two years.

This clean-up marks the most recent large-scale homeless encampment to be cleared and fenced off by LA City. Previously cleared encampments include Echo Park and MacArthur Park.

In March, a park revitalization spearheaded by the city targeted a large homeless encampment at Echo Park Lake. Park repairs tallied up to just over $700,000, according to ABC7.

Albert Corado, a homeless advocate, told ABC7, “It was handled poorly. I think most of the things that have to do with homelessness are handled poorly in the city.”

This was then repeated in another project intended for a homeless encampment at MacArthur Park. Spectrum News 1 reported at the time that 290 homeless people living at the encampment were moved indoors to Project Homekey long-term housing sites on Oct. 15.

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