Everyone At Echo Park Lake Has Been Offered Shelter, Says LA Homeless Services. But It's Complicated
The homeless encampment at Echo Park Lake is now empty. As of late this morning, all the unhoused residents of the tent community have either left, been offered housing elsewhere, or forcibly removed by LAPD.
I just learned that the final 2 #EchoParkRiseUp community residents, Ayman Ahmed and David Busch-Lilly, were detained by LAPD today at 10:36 AM. They were put in zip-ties and taken to the metro detention center.— Libby Denkmann (@libdenk) March 26, 2021
Ahmed and Busch-Lilly were cited & released about an hour later.
The city of L.A. gave folks until 10:30 last night to leave the park with their belongings. At about 11 p.m. yesterday, an announcement from an LAPD helicopter said that anyone still in the park was subject to citations.
City officials said they needed to close the park for a $500,000 cleanup and repair project.
The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority was one of the providers working to find people in the park temporary housing, shelter beds, or hotel rooms. "Everybody has been offered shelter," said Heidi Marston, Executive Director of LAHSA. "Some folks have chosen to leave, but I would say the majority of folks have received shelter."
Marston told us that as of this morning, at least 180 people from the park have been placed in temporary housing.
But some of the unhoused living at Echo Park Lake say that temporary housing is part of the problem... and that the city isn't doing enough to place people in permanent housing.
Here's how Marston responded to that:
"So while permanent housing is always the goal and we'll continue to work with those folks in shelters to get inside, we always tend to see a very healthy mix of people who go directly from an unsheltered situation into permanent housing but a lot of folks do make a stop in our shelters or in our Project Roomkey sites first and then move into permanent housing after that."
Visual journalist Chava Sanchez and reporter Libby Denkmann contributed to this report.
READ MORE ABOUT THE CONFLICT IN ECHO PARK: