The Mission Hills Neighborhood Council has heard multiple concerns from stakeholders about homeless people in Mission Hills, particularly at the old Pizza Hut located just south of the 118 on Sepulveda. Including:
There are a ton of squatters living in the old Pizza Hut on Sepulveda & Chatsworth st and they’ve started a prostitution ring in the parking lot next to my apartment! And have harrassed me while I walk my dog multiple times. I’ve called the cops only once and they never came. There’s also a major homeless camp under the freeway where the 405 passes over Chatsworth and Orion St just one block west of the Pizza Hut. They’ve been offered help with outreach programs multiple times and have been threatening, doing drugs openly, homeless picked up by strange men and dropped off a couple hours later, stealing from people’s doorstep etc. what do we do?!
Homeless encampment at 10600 N ORION AVE, 91345. They have left needles on the floor, tried breaking in to my vehicle, and they are bringing in more and more trash into our community. Please find them resources; mental health specialists, shelter locations, etc. I am afraid of going out for a walk with my kids.
What can you do?
We reached out to Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez Office and our Area Representative Dominique Vitti provided this information:
As for what community members can to do connect homeless individuals in their areas to services, a critical asset that is still greatly underused right now is the LAHSA Homeless Outreach Portal (https://www.lahsa.org/portal/apps/la-hop/), where people can report any encampment, vehicle dwelling, or homeless person directly to outreach workers.
Here’s a quick video on the process of using LA-HOP:
These outreach workers are doing the work to connect with every reported instance and to begin the process to move people from homelessness to shelter and to connect them with services. This is the beginning of the journey to truly solve the problem by bringing people indoors rather than the band-aid fix of pushing encampments or vehicles from one area to another.
While people should still continue to report encampments either through the 311 system or directly to our Council office to activate our CARE program, which provides sanitation services, it is equally important to report encampments through the Homeless Outreach Portal to connect our unsheltered constituents directly with outreach teams, so they can be connected with the resources in our district.
In addition, there are many additional shelter beds, such as Project Roomkey beds, that have been added during this COVID crisis for those that are seniors or have underlying health conditions that increase vulnerability to COVID-19. Outreach workers can connect the homeless with these current resources as well. The communities and residents that are regularly making these connections will see their homeless achieve this housing. There are also many other ways to help tackle the issue of homelessness locally, such as donating food, money, or items, or volunteering with our local nonprofits that serve the unhoused including:
- Making It Happen, (https://www.makingithappeninc.org/how-to-help)
- LA Family Housing (https://lafh.org/advocate)
- North Valley Caring Services (https://www.nvcsinc.org/get-involved, https://www.nvcsinc.org/donate)
In addition, the City of LA has the CARE program, which has the benefit of dedicating an entire Sanitation and outreach team specifically to Council District 7, enabling us to have access to encampment cleanup 20 days a month, as opposed to 2 days a month which we previously had through the Clean Streets LA program, which means that encampments are being addressed in much faster time periods. I want to be clear, though, that these cleanups involve physically cleaning up the area around the tents, providing hygiene services, and also providing outreach services to those living in the encampments.
Why has the problem grown exponentially?
As you might know, the Supreme Court decided recently not to hear the Martin vs. Boise case and review the ruling, which essentially means that the City cannot make it illegal for the homeless to dwell in tents on the sidewalk until many more shelter beds are provided. You can find out more about current court cases, law, and homelessness in the City of LA here: https://www.lacityattorney.org/homelessness.
In regards to criminal activity, please do report any criminal activity you witness to LAPD, either through the non-emergency number of 877-ASK-LAPD or through 911. You can see current crime mapping statistics for the City of Los Angeles here at this link: https://www.crimemapping.com/map/ca/losangeles.
As of the January 2020 Homeless Count, the whole of Council District 7 had about 1440 homeless individuals, of which about 224 were sheltered, and the remaining 1216 were unsheltered. Our district was ranked 5th lowest out of the 15 Council Districts in the City of LA (https://www.lahsa.org/data?id=44-2020-homeless-county-by-city-council-district), in regards to the number of people living without housing.
Here are just some of the resources and projects the Councilwoman has advocated for and secured funding for during her three years in office:
Campus facility – In January 2018, LAFH’s Campus Permanent Supportive Housing facility opened. Though this PSH facility is located in North Hollywood, 14 people from Council District 7 (including 8 from the Sunland-Tujunga community) moved into these apartments. You can see the new facility and stories of the people that gained permanent residence here at this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kEFIRkkupo4
Safe Parking Program – In October 2018, here in CD7, we opened the first Safe Parking program in the City of LA to allow RVs. Our Safe Parking Program at North Valley Caring Services is a model for wrap-around services, providing not only all-night security but on-site case management to assist individuals in finding housing and work. Having just celebrated their second anniversary, the NVCS Safe Parking program has served over 186 individuals in its first two years, and has assisted 47% of the Safe Parking participants to transition into bridge housing and permanent housing. To learn more about this program, or to find out how people can participate in it, please click on the following link: https://www.nvcsinc.org/post/nvcs-celebrates-its-two-year-anniversary-of-the-safe-parking-program You can also see a video on the program at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TMF08bti5wM&feature=youtu.be.
Family Navigation Service Center – Secured over $450,000 for family navigation services to create a one-stop-shop where homeless families can access supportive services and receive referrals to supporting agencies like in-house case managers, food security program, shower services, activities for children living in motels, workforce development, and childcare.
Paxton/Bradley Encampment – In April 2020, we completed a week-long cleanup operation of the largest single encampment in our district, which resulted in 65 people being housed and over 15 tons of materials removed. You can read about this large-scale operation here: https://www.facebook.com/1135918886476160/posts/today-marks-the-culmination-of-a-week-long-housing-and-sanitation-operation-at-p/2944326815635349/.
Arroyo Women’s Shelter – In July 2020, we opened the Arroyo in Sylmar, a new 85-bed women’s shelter which will provide immediate housing for women throughout CD7, many of them victims of interpersonal violence, whether it’s child abuse, sexual assault, domestic violence, or human trafficking. The Arroyo includes an outdoor garden, yoga studio, dining room, and recreational areas, as well as services such as art therapy and mental health counseling to help the women navigate a path toward permanent housing, and our office advocated for $3.7 million in City funding (as a Bridge Home project) to support this shelter. You can learn more about this important homeless resource at: https://www.facebook.com/MonicaRodriguezCD7/videos/a-bridge-home-opening-in-sylmar/2037963583007335/.
Summit View Permanent Supportive Housing – In March 2020, we broke ground on the Summit View Permanent Supportive Housing development in Lake View Terrace. This project, with construction well underway, utilized vacant City-owned land to create an additional 49 units for homeless and disabled veterans and their families, and will also include supportive amenities like a computer lab, onsite laundry, fitness center, dog park, rooftop terrace, and manager/services offices. To see more about this project, click the link here: https://www.facebook.com/1135918886476160/videos/241484703941614/.
Silva Crossing Permanent Supportive Housing – In January 2021, we are scheduled to break ground on another permanent supportive housing development in Sylmar, which will provide 56 apartments for homeless individuals. You can read more here: https://www.metahousing.com/location/silva-crossing/
Pacoima Winter Shelter – Hope of the Valley’s Pacoima Winter Shelter program, which the Councilwoman reopened when she came into office, provides 120 beds of Emergency Shelter during the coldest winter months in the San Fernando Valley. Food, beds, clothing and other essential services are provided on a nightly basis. In addition, Case Management, Medical Care, Mental Health Counseling, and other support services are also provided nightly. At the beginning of the COVID crisis, we opened this facility early this year to shelter homeless in our district that were at high risk of COVID, due to health factors, age, etc. For additional COVID/homelessness updates, such as Project Roomkey, street testing and COVID education, and providing PPE/handwashing stations to the homeless, you can view this LAFH town hall on COVID and homelessness: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5As9sFnMRgA.
Hansen Dam – Following the Councilwoman’s motion of last year to increase enforcement of encampments trespassing in the Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone ( http://www.monicarodriguez.org/ordinance_enhancing_enforcement_in_high_fire_zones_goes_into_effect), our office began a close partnership with the Rec and Park Department’s encampment team to prioritize removing encampments in these wild areas, and Hansen Dam now receives regular, weekly cleanups and outreach throughout the Rec and Parks area. The number of homeless living in this area has decreased from over 30 people last October to approximately 7-8 currently, and the cleanup and outreach continues for these remaining encampments.
210/Osborne lot – Though the multi-jurisdictional, empty lot next to the Osborne exit of the 210 freeway does not fall under the jurisdiction of the City of LA, we have advocated for and organized two large cleanups on this property due to the fires that have been occurring on this property. As of the first week of October, So Cal Edison cleared all encampments from their portion of the property and removed all vegetation. As of November 16, 2020, CalTrans has a contractor working to clear the remainder of the property and to bring this parcel up to brush clearance codes, and will be continuing their work to clear the property over a 10-day period. So far, 7 of the 13 people living on this property have moved into housing.