New Push To Address Homelessness Crisis In Venice Beach Area

Residents and Los Angeles city leaders and officials are growing fed up with what they’re calling a lack of action toward the homelessness crisis in the Venice area. Hermela Aregawi reports.

Video Transcript

- There's a battle brewing between the La Sheriff and local politicians over the homeless crisis in Los Angeles. Today, the Sheriff sent his own team into Venice to clean up the tent city. KCAL 9's Hermela Aregawi is there to show us what's happening right now, Hermela.

- Hi, Juan and Leslie, yes. So what you see behind me is what most of the Venice boardwalk look like. A lot of art, fairly clean, no homeless encampments. But that's not the case for North of here on Market Street, and residents and business owners tell us they have tried to be very empathetic with the people that live on the streets and very patient with city officials. But at this point, they say the problem has only gotten worse. So they don't care who fixes it as long as somebody does.

- Well, I have the support of the people. That's what counts. The board of supervisors and the La city council have been singularly responsible for the failure in addressing the homeless crisis.

- La County Sheriff Alex Villanueva says he plans to clear the homeless encampments on Venice Beach by the July 4th holiday. The issue is now at the center of a fight between the Sheriff and La City officials.

- It's really curious that he hasn't called to ask how he could be helpful if he has housing and services that would actually be helpful.

- Tuesday as part of a new effort sheriffs, deputies went tent to tent talking to the homeless about getting housing and social services. The fire department even picked up this man at their request.

- I think it's about time. Yeah. I mean, we pay a lot of rent to live here, like really close to the beach. And like, a nice safe city and it's not safe.

- Venice residents and business owners say after months of inaction from the city, they welcome the Sheriff's deputies. They tell us they don't care who cleans up the boardwalk which has become more and more dangerous.

- That was absurd. We couldn't believe they let that happen after months and months of the crime, people getting mugged in broad daylight.

- Well I would just like them gone. I mean, it really affects my business. It's hard for me to sell sometimes, especially when they're on drugs, and they're just running crazy around here.

- T-shirt shop owner Patrick Liberty says he's lived here for more than 20 years and has done fine until recently.

- Even if the loan waiver somehow manages to evict these people intent by the 4th of July, the reputation of Venice Beach has been ruined throughout the entire world.

- Well, the Sheriff's Office tells us they will have deputies here every day for the coming weeks. They will offer services to those who are willing to take them. And eventually, the plan is to clear out the encampments by July 4th. Live in Venice, Hermela Aregawi KCAL 9 News.