Meet Kellie. She used to live in an RV parked in Playa Del Ray until she got offered a spot in a hotel program with a housing voucher promise. But things went downhill from there. No case manager ever showed up, and the service provider running the program wasn’t much help either. Whenever Kellie called LAHSA, they just redirected her back to the hotel folks, giving her the runaround.
After months in the hotel program, they told Kellie she had to move to Skid Row or have nothing at all. So, she ended up back in her RV, which she’s grateful she didn’t sell.
Now, by tomorrow morning, all the RVs have to be gone, or they’ll be towed, leaving Kellie with no place to go. She might park her RV in another neighborhood, but she knows she’ll eventually be pushed out from there too.
Councilwoman Traci Park and Playa Del Rey residents made the news, celebrating the towing of RVs near Ballona Wetlands. They conveniently forget to mention that these people have nowhere else to go.
Today, we spent the day talking to the remaining vehicle dwellers. LAHSA and St. Joseph case workers were there too, but their “help” was just putting people on a waiting list for a possible hotel room or shelter bed. No specifics or guarantees, just a list to check a box for Traci Park’s political game.
When politicians target an encampment for removal, homeless services prioritize that area, leaving other homeless people waiting longer. It’s not uncommon for some people to wait for a bed at the Venice Bridge Shelter only to see open beds offered to political agendas over them. Besides being wrong, this is NOT how we will solve homelessness.
Kellie’s story is heartbreaking yet crucial. There are tens of thousands of homeless people in LA County, and they’re being shuffled around by these so-called “homeless sweeps.” Politicians claim they offer housing and services, but being put on a waiting list hardly qualifies as support. And for the lucky few who make it into a hotel, the lack of services and broken promises often drive them right back to tents and RVs.