A Los Angeles City Council motion that would temporarily house homeless people on beaches across Los Angeles was proposed on Monday by City Councilor Mike Bonin.
According to the proposed action, temporary tiny home and camping sites would be established at Will Rogers State Beach in Pacific Palisades, Dockweiler Beach in Playa Del Rey, and Fisherman’s Village in Marina del Rey. A temporary RV site would also be set up at Dockweiler Beach. All temporary homeless camps would be set up in county-owned parking lots next to the beaches themselves. The beaches themselves will not close for the duration of the camps being nearby.
Bonin wrote the proposal due to the homeless crisis in Los Angeles and to address the lack of safe places for homeless people to go to on the Westside.
“Addressing our homelessness crisis requires a wide range of solutions, applied urgently and simultaneously, targeting different populations and focusing a variety of resources, across the city of Los Angeles,” said Bonin in his petition. “If the motion is approved by the City Council, people who are homeless because of drugs and mental illness will have the legal right to live in the parking lot at our public beach in Pacific Palisades.”
Bonin followed up on Monday with a string of tweets, further outlining his plan.
“People are living and dying on our streets,” tweeted Bonin on Monday. “All over the city, people are demanding urgent action. That means we need a broad menu of solutions — projects, programs, policies — and we need to put them in place all over the city, including the Westside.”
“We have approved supportive housing in Venice, Del Rey, West LA, Westchester, and Brentwood. We have more supportive housing proposed in Mar Vista and Venice. We have opened bridge housing in Venice and Brentwood, piloted safe parking in West LA and Westchester. We have purchased hotels in Venice and near LAX, and are looking to purchase or lease more motels and apartment buildings, and fund shared housing. But with homelessness rising nationwide, statewide and locally, we need to do a helluva lot more.”
“None of the locations we’ve identified are ideal, and I’m always open to other suggestions. But we’ve looked long and hard. There or no ideal places on the Westside, but that doesn’t reduce the need or urgency to act.”
Growing opposition against Bonin’s plan
While there was some initial support for Bonin’s motion on Monday and Tuesday, particularly among homeless advocates who have stressed the need for more safe places for them to stay on the Westside, many others vehemently opposed the move, noting the dangers that housing the homeless in this manner could bring, including to beachgoers, residents, and drivers on the nearby Pacific Coast Highway (PCH).
“At this particular time when our economy needs it the most, this is an area that is of tremendous value. So this motion causes us a lot of concern for the safety of not only the homeless that are here and could be affected by this high traffic along PCH, along with the safety of the community of LA who comes to enjoy this beach,” said Jessica Rogers of the Pacific Palisades Residents Association. She added that she doesn’t have confidence in the plan due to how a confluence of homeless people led them to occupying most of the Venice Beach Boardwalk.
Others agreed among similar lines.
“The beaches are for everyone, not just for one group of people,” explained Andrew Lin, an apartment complex owner nearby one of the proposed sites. “You just allow one group of people there, a group who is more inclined to use drugs, panhandle, and generally cause a disturbance, then things decline fast. Also, there’s something a little disturbing about confining a group of similar people to a cordoned off area like that.”
“A lot of people don’t believe this, but this isn’t about maintaining property values or not wanting to see them or the usual claptrap they try and pin on you. No, this is about safety, pure and simple, for everyone involved. Bonin’s plan here, well, it’s reckless. He obviously didn’t do his homework on this. And if this goes through, well, you’ve seen the tide that’s been turning in California recently. We won’t forget this, especially during the next election. Or by a recall. It wouldn’t be the first time it’s been tried against him.”
The motion is expected to be decided on soon by the LA City Council.
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