Homeless Encampments Return in Hollywood, Despite Karen Bass’s Hotel Rooms

Karen Bass inauguration (David McNew / Getty)
David McNew / Getty

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass is facing criticism from Hollywood residents as homeless encampments are returning despite her efforts to move people from the streets into hotels and motels.

Under her predecessor, Eric Garcetti, and under California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), the focus of homeless policy in the state has been to use government money to pay for hotel or motel rooms for homeless people, offering them alternative accommodation. But that approach does not address the root causes of the problem: mental illness, drug abuse, permissive law enforcement, and the high cost of living in the state, especially when it comes to housing.

Hollywood homeless (Nick Ut / Getty)

Los Angeles, CA – August 12: People who are displaced sit on the sidewalk with two dogs on Hollywood Blvd on August 12, 2023 in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Nick Ut/Getty Images)

Bass was elected in 2022 after her opponent, businessman Rick Caruso, nearly won by making homelessness a key issue. She made big promises, and claims to have made progress with her “Inside Safe” campaign.

But the Los Angeles Times reports that many people are declining hotel and motel rooms — or are simply replaced by new arrivals, creating fire hazards and other problems:

The fire that burned on Jan. 7 broke out in the first neighborhood targeted by Inside Safe, the initiative created by Mayor Karen Bass to move homeless people off sidewalks and into housing. The area is also one of the few in Los Angeles to receive a second visit from the mayor’s program.

Yet after each of those encampment operations, streets first targeted by Inside Safe in 2022 — parts of Cahuenga Boulevard, Wilcox Avenue and Franklin — have repopulated. Unhoused residents have set up tents, tarps and other structures next to apartment buildings, along median strips and on the sidewalks of Cahuenga where it passes under the 101 Freeway.

In that area, at least four fires have broken out at homeless encampments over the last three months. Although no injuries have been reported, some people in the area have been on edge. Residents say that, over the past few years, they also have had to contend with screaming in the middle of the night, human waste on sidewalks and doorsteps, open-air drug use and, on occasion, threats of violence.

Frustration with the state’s elected Democrats has grown since Newsom found a way to clear San Francisco’s streets of homeless people for a few days during the visit of Chinese Premier Xi Jinping in November, demonstrating that the main problem was a lack of political will — and suggesting that a communist dictator counted for more than those of local taxpayers and voters.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new biography, Rhoda: ‘Comrade Kadalie, You Are Out of Order’. He is also the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


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