On Tuesday, a KPCC report revealed that a staffer from Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office called for the disposal of a homeless woman’s belongings just hours after the Mayor took a PR trip to the encampment where she lived with a journalist.
The woman, whose name is Kryshelle, was living at a dirt embankment in North Hollywood when the Mayor and several outreach workers came to “see firsthand conditions on the street,” and to hand out information that might help encampment residents connect with city services. “One of the things that’s kind of magical as Mayor is that sometimes I can make the difference of whether somebody will say, ‘Today is the day, I’ll actually come off the streets,’” Garcetti told KPCC housing reporter Matt Tinoco.
Later, Tinoco returned to the site alone, and witnessed city workers throw several shopping carts full of items into a garbage truck. The carts, it turns out, belonged to Kryshelle, and contained her ID, medicine, cell phone, food, and clothes—as well as the outreach worker contact info she had just received from the Mayor’s team. “Everything I own is gone again,” she said. Tinoco later confirmed with the Mayor’s office that the call which led to the sweep had come from someone visiting with Garcetti that day.
The story comes amid a push from activists for the city to reform its methods for dealing with homeless encampments. Advocates of the #ServicesNotSweeps campaign, which was launched in April of this year and is supported by over 35 community organizations, say that indiscriminately disposing of homeless individuals’ belongings is both inhumane and a waste of millions of dollars that could be spent on services like showers, water fountains, or bathrooms.
The city is also facing a federal civil rights lawsuit brought by seven homeless Angelenos that that would overturn a city ordinance allowing sanitation workers to dispose of “bulky” items in the street.
Correction: Kryshelle’s name was initially misspelled. We deeply regret the error.
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