LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Part of MacArthur Park in the Westlake neighborhood, which housed a large homeless camp, will close for several weeks starting Friday for maintenance and cleaning.
LA City Councilor Gil Cedillo said on Wednesday that the south side of the park bordered by Alvarado and Park View Streets, and Wilshire Boulevard and 7th Streets, will be closed so the LA Department of Recreation and Parks can complete the cleaning and making infrastructure improvements.
A sign in the park said the closing would begin at 7 a.m. The closure is expected to last 10 weeks. The northern part of the park will remain open.
Kevin Dunigan lives near MacArthur Park. He told CBS2 and KCAL9 political reporter Tom Wait that he was happy to see the homeless find shelter – but hopes they will receive support as well.
“I see what LA is trying to do with the city and they are trying to clean it up,” Dunigan said. “I just hope LA does something for them – not just get out of here, not come back.”
According to Cedillo’s office, since January 197 people and families living in MacArthur Park have already been moved “indoors to a safer environment” with help from the LA Homeless Services Authority and the non-profit group. lucrative People Assisting The Homeless.
As of Friday evening, there were only three homeless people who still resided in the park.
Jesus Torres, who works with People Assist The Homeless, explains that outreach teams have been working at MacArthur Park since January.
“We were able to move a lot of people to temporary housing,” Torres said. “The work starts with the first engagement and continues after we move them to a temporary location or a key project room site. “
The city is trying to avoid another incident like that of Echo Park.
In March, more than 180 people were arrested when demonstrators clashed with police for several days as they protested the closure of Echo Park to also remove a large-scale homeless settlement there.
The homelessness crisis continued to grow in Los Angeles as officials struggled to address the issue. Several small original villages were built across the city in an effort to provide the homeless with temporary housing and a path to more permanent solutions.
Gustavo Otzoy said he was placed in Project Room Key, the program where hotels and motels are rented out temporarily. And that’s how the people of MacArthur Park are housed. Oztoy said it doesn’t always work because of restrictions such as curfews.
“I was at a Project Room Key. You had to be there at a certain time. We couldn’t leave at a certain time, ”said Oztoy.
Project Room Key offers a number of services, such as drug addiction and mental health services.