Parks Bureau and COP’s Team Members Conduct Homeless Outreach Operation in Whittier Narrows Regional Park

Parks Bureau and COP's Team Members Conduct Homeless Outreach Operation in Whittier Narrows Regional Park

On Tuesday, February 19, 2013, personnel from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Departments Parks Bureau and COP's Team, along with the Department of Mental Health Services, Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), the Army Corps of Engineers, Department of Social Services, the Department of Animal Control, and military veteran resources joined forces to conduct a Homeless Outreach Operation.

Numerous complaints regarding these homeless encampments had been made to the Los Angeles County Parks and Recreation Department and the Office of County Supervisor Gloria Molina. Sheriff's personnel, along with LAHSA members, visited the sites for over two months contacting the inhabitants who had built significant structures for shelter. The sites were replete with trash, debris, human waste and personal property. The inhabitants were warned regarding their constant violation of local ordinances and laws pertaining to loitering, public camping, and trespassing. They were also offered social services which a great many refused and turned down.

The safety and quality of life for nearby businesses, recreational users of the park, and pedestrian traffic along the riverbed trails had been severely affected by the unsanitary conditions and homeless population, despite the significant efforts made by both law enforcement and social services.

During this operation, twenty-two individuals were contacted at the site, interviewed by LAHSA, and provided with emergency shelter information. Only seven individuals remained at the site on Tuesday and again were offered services by LAHSA and the Department of Public Health. Two individuals were housed by LAHSA, one was placed by the Veteran's Administration and the final three did not accept services.

The area was cleaned by hand crews from the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation and the San Gabriel Valley Conservation Corps. They filled six 40-yard commercial truck containers with debris and trash removed from the encampment. A large amount of paint and paint thinner was removed from the site by the Los Angeles County Fire Department as hazardous material.

Parks Bureau is committed to providing a safe and drug free environment at all County Parks located throughout Los Angeles County.

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