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Planters used to deter homeless encampments in Hollywood must be removed

Planters used to deter homeless encampments in Hollywood must be removed
Planters used to deter homeless encampments in Hollywood must be removed

 


Hollywood business owners are upset and frustrated after planters installed to prevent the growth of homeless encampments were ordered to be removed.

The planters and flower beds were placed along the sidewalks of Sunset Boulevard and Highland Avenue in May after merchants said homeless encampments had completely blocked sidewalks and driveways for nearly two years.

The driveway to Sunset Sound Recording Studio was inaccessible due to the sheer number of tents on the sidewalk, which continued to increase.

The studio almost closed its doors after being the target of a burglary during which thieves defecated on a battery. They were then the target of an attempted arson attack.

Many owners said the encampments posed dangers to residents as buildings were vandalized and patrons threatened.

Before installing the planters, business owners said they sent several requests to city officials and the Los Angeles mayor's office for help with the situation, but were ignored.

Deciding to take matters into their own hands, the planters were installed and many residents said their presence had successfully deterred the area's homeless population.

Although many sympathized with the unhoused, they felt helpless and said there was no other choice.

We literally watched all our neighbors leave [the area], said Andrew Monheim, owner of Monheim Microphones. I think one of the saddest things right now is the retention of small businesses. The mayor should be embarrassed because it is disgusting how many small businesses have fled and left.

However, on June 21, municipal notices were suddenly posted on the planters, classifying them as obstructions. The planters would have to be removed by Monday morning or city staff would take action.

Many business owners said they were upset and frustrated by the city's response, which targeted planters rather than encampments.

“You should be proud to have tourists walking in the street instead of defecating and pissing on the ground,” Monheim told city officials. “You should be proud to see money coming in and circulating in your city.”

Some residents said they supported the idea of ​​keeping the planters on the sidewalk.

For me, I'd rather look at these planters than look at people who could potentially harm or hurt me, said Anthony Hayward, a frequent Hollywood visitor. To do what [officials] not put the same effort and energy into eliminating homelessness before people are forced to step up and take matters into their own hands?

Authorities have vowed to tackle the growing homelessness crisis affecting Southland. In August 2023, Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass launched the Inside Security Initiative which aims to reduce the number of unhoused people living on the streets while providing them with shelter.

In 2023, an estimated 75,518 homeless people lived in Los Angeles, according to the Los Angeles Homeless Service Authority. Homelessness increased 14% between 2022 and 2023, according to LAHSA reports.

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