Encampments in the A Bridge Home (ABH) zone and the Boardwalk have seen a significant increase in just a months time.
Since last month, the number of tents and structures in the Special Enforcement and Cleaning Zone (SECZ) has seen a sharp 78 percent increase—while Boardwalk encampments have gone up 45 percent.
In late November early December, Dexter O'Connell, the Venice Bridge Home Deputy responsible for the SECZ, reported that the count of tents and structures in the SECZ was 51. This past weekend that count was 91 tents and structures.
According to Mayor Eric Garcetti, Bridge Homes came with a promise that " All of the shelters will be fully staffed with 24/7 on-site security, and City staff will closely monitor each shelter to help ensure safety and cleanliness."
Garcetti also said that " With the City’s additional funding for sanitation services, existing encampments will be converted into clean, safe public spaces for all residents to enjoy."
The SECZ isn't the only place to see a significant uptick in encampments. A recent count of tents on the Boardwalk on Dec. 18, 2020 showed there were 147 tents, a count this past weekend puts that number at 213-- an increase of 45 percent.
O'Connell told residents in a recent meeting that the increase of tents in the SECZ was due to boardwalk encampments moving to the area.
While gathering data for this report, we talked to one person on Third Ave and Sunset who wanted to be referred to as A. A said he had recently moved out of the Project Roomkey from the Culver City location. Saint Joseph's moved a number of people to the motel before an effort to clean up Penmar. A said that curfew and some rules that were in place were too tough to keep.
Before moving to Penmar, A said he lived in the ABH but was kicked out for pulling a knife on someone.
Along with an increase of encampments—there is an increase in needles, waste, garbage, and debris in the public rights-of-way.
The Los Angeles City Council voted to resume major cleanups around its bridge housing shelters in late July of 2020.
Council members voted 10-4 on Wednesday, July 29, 2020, to bring back "comprehensive" cleanups" in designated zones around the sites.
Backers of the motion said it was needed to maintain hygiene and keep promises that city leaders made to neighbors.
Councilman Bob Blumenfield, who voted for the plan, said with the ask to build the shelters in communities, "we made promises to the community that those areas would not become magnets for more encampments and for the buildups of items and trash."
The decision was opposed by Councilmember Mike Bonin, Marqueece Harris-Dawson, David Ryu and Herb Wesson.
Ahead of the vote, Bonin said that "I'm still unclear on what the hell it is that we're asking to be done."
We reached out to Bonin's office for this report and have not heard back.