The day after we interviewed Wendy about living homeless in her RV, the RV encampment in Playa Del Ray was hit with a massive sweep. LAPD, along with LA Sanitation and Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), blocked off Jefferson Blvd and started to throw people’s belongings away without providing any tangible support.
Homeless sweeps involve police officers forcing homeless individuals living in RVs and other vehicles to vacate their current location, often without providing them with an alternative place to stay. These sweeps are incredibly harmful and traumatic for those experiencing homelessness, as they are forced to leave their only shelter and possessions behind without knowing where they will sleep that night. Additionally, these sweeps make it even harder for service providers to reach and help these individuals, as they are constantly being displaced and forced to move.
Homeless sweeps do nothing to solve the underlying issue of homelessness. Instead of investing in long-term solutions, such as affordable housing and mental health services, these sweeps waste taxpayer money and cause unnecessary harm to vulnerable individuals. Homelessness is a complex issue that requires a multifaceted approach and cannot be solved through punitive measures. Rather than displacing homeless individuals, the city should work towards creating sustainable solutions that will provide them with the support and resources needed to rebuild their lives.
If you live in Los Angeles, here is a link for the City Council contact information broken down by district. Please reach out to your legislators to demand they stop the sweeps.
Nationally, please support Housing Not Handcuffs
We all must advocate for more housing and support services and stop homeless sweeps at the local level. At the same time, we must continue to pressure state and federal legislators. Your voice can help end homelessness. If we do not fix the affordable housing crisis, homelessness will worsen.
Click here to tweet, email, call, or Facebook your federal and state legislators to tell them ending homelessness and creating more affordable housing is a priority to you.
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