Homeless Trickle Into Urban Camp While City Works On Other Housing
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ About 125 transients have drifted into the city’s new urban campground being operated by the Salvation Army for 60 days while authorities explore long-range solutions for homelessness.
City officials created the temporary camp, which is intended to accommodate 600, after police removed homeless people from the makeshift shelters they had erected on sidewalks along Skid Row. Police Chief Daryl Gates blamed transients for a rising crime rate in the blighted area.
Meanwhile, the City Council voted Tuesday to give preliminary approval to freeze rents at downtown hotels that provide night-by-night shelter for the poor. Typically, the rooms rent for $8 a night.
The council also imposed a six-month moratorium on demolition permits required to raze the hotels.
Barbara Zeidman, director of the city’s rent stabilization program, described the council’s action as ″homelessness prevention.″
Homeless activist Ted Hayes and two other men were arrested Tuesday at the new urban tent camp after refusing to comply with search rules, officials said.
″They used deception to get in,″ alleged Robert Beaver of the Salvation Army.
Beaver said everyone entering the camp must be ″patted down″ for weapons, drugs or alcohol by an employee of either the Salvation Army or a city- authorized security firm.
Hayes, who has pursued a dream of establishing a permanent camp for the homeless, was opposed to the Salvation Army’s administration of the camp. He complained Tuesday about dust, toilet facilities and the lack of first aid facilities.
Estimates of the number of homeless vary widely. A federal study several years ago cited 30,000 homeless in the greater Los Angeles area, while a study by the city’s redevelopment agency last year said 1,000 people were sleeping on Skid Row sidewalks.