HARBOR CITY, Calif. — A homeless encampment in Harbor City has been a refuge for those who have been unhoused.
What You Need To Know
- It's estimated that up to 50 unhoused individuals live within the McCoy Ave encampment in Harbor City
- LA Sanitation CARE plus teams designated to enforce encampment cleanups dismantled and removed tents and other items left behind at the encampment
- Three individuals received temporary shelter through cleanup efforts
- Unhoused individuals were given a new tent and two bags to transport necessary belongings
It is estimated that the up to 50 individuals, like Al Daniel, living in the encampment nestled within the McCoy Avenue alleyway had to find other options after Los Angeles Sanitation and the Los Angeles Police Department cleared the area for an encampment cleanup.
“It’s gut wrenching because you lose. You could lose everything or have the hardest time trying to keep everything,” Daniel said.
After moving spot to spot, Daniel found a sense of safety living at the Harbor City encampment, but after being unhoused in the encampment for the last three years, he knew it was only a matter of time before a major cleanup.
“They’ve done like the soft cleanups where they pick up the trash around your spot. They do not take all your stuff, but I knew it was time. It was going to happen sooner or later because we were building low-key tent mansions,” Daniel said.
The cleanup began early Thursday morning when LA Sanitation CARE plus teams designated to enforce encampment cleanups dismantled and removed tents and other items left behind at the encampment.
Individuals were given a new tent and two bags to take what belongings they needed with them. They were also offered temporary shelter.
According to Caitlin Muldoon with Councilman Joe Buscaino’s office, the cleanup was necessary after 12 fires had broken out within the encampment. Muldoon said that once the cleanup has been completed, those who are unhoused could move back into the area.
“We’re trying to just basically maintain the encampment. We are not removing them. They have to move from the area during the cleanup for their own safety, but they are allowed to come back,” Muldoon said.
Unhoused advocates like Danielle Nunez with Street Watch LA kept a watchful eye on the cleanup, but comprehensive cleanups are not exactly how she would describe what she has seen at the sites.
“These are sweeps. I am careful to say these are cleanups because a lot of the time, we want folks to have areas to put their trash to put their belongings if they need to move and that does not happen during a care plus sweep. Often times, people’s shelter are completely destroyed,” Nunez said.
As the cleanup continued, all Daniel could do was watch from a distance.
“I’m planning to watch my stuff and if they can get me into the bridge housing in [San] Pedro, I’ll be going there. If not, I’ll probably be looking for another spot,” Daniel said.
With a new tent in hand; Daniel remains hopeful that one day he will find his way back into housing.
Councilman Buscaino's office confirmed three individuals from the encampment moved into temporary shelter through cleanup efforts.