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Housing and Homelessness

Only 1 In 10 Of Echo Park's Unhoused Residents Have Found Long Term Housing Since The Sweep

Close-up image of a chain link fence that surrounds the perimeter of Echo Park Lake. In the distance, a fountain inside the lake sprays water high into the air.
According to the report, only 1 in 10 displaced Echo Park residents secured some form of long-term housing.
(Libby Denkmann/LAist)
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It's been a year since Los Angeles police officers cleared a large unhoused community at Echo Park Lake, and a new UCLA report finds few of the close to 200 people who were displaced ended up in long-term housing.

Researchers said fewer than one in 10 residents have been placed in permanent supportive housing, received subsidized rentals, or moved into some other form of long-term housing.

Temporary placements rarely lead to stable permanent housing, as they often break the connections that people who are unhoused have formed and make it harder for them to get off the streets for good, according to UCLA professor and report co-author Ananya Roy.

"Echo Park Lake has become both the exemplar and blueprint of this kind of displacement," Roy said.

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Annie Powers, who was involved in writing the report, recalls a notable former Echo Park resident, Veronica, who was a “mother” to people on the streets around her. Veronica, whose story is introduced at the beginning of the report, was displaced from Glendale Boulevard by police after already having been removed from Echo Park.

“I think that the city is intimately aware of optics of sweeping someone who was displaced from Echo Park Lake … and that that is happening a year later,“ Powers said. “It's incredibly indicative of the way that this system works to just turn people through it rather than actually finding people solutions.”

The report contends that the city "staged a police invasion" to evict the unhoused community from the park and used the "ruse of housing" to justify the action.

Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell calls those false claims. He said there was a three-month outreach process that led to transitional housing placements for "nearly 200 people who had been living in a 'dangerous, deadly environment.'"

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