Following sanitation report and public outcry, the city introduces more rigorous and effective cleanup and prevention efforts
As the long-term homeless solutions continue to slowly take and keep homeless individuals off the streets, the City of Los Angeles this week announced new strategies in regards to street cleanups.
At a press conference on Wednesday, June 19, Mayor Eric Garcetti detailed the plan — which is heading to the city council for consideration — that requires $6 million to fund new sanitation teams whose sole purpose is street cleanups.
These cleanup groups, called Cleaning and Rapid Engagement (CARE) teams, will be assigned to specific areas where they will regularly clean the areas. Previously, service requests were made through the city’s 3-1-1 system, which sanitation officials said did not deploy clean-up teams consistently and lacked a strong infrastructure to clean these areas up and keep them clean.
There will be 30 teams in total, and 13 of those 30 teams will be equipped with mobile hygiene centers and would receive training to work directly with homeless Angelenos and cater to their needs.
“We’ll get to know each block. We’ll get to know each street and the people who live on those streets as well,” Garcetti said on Wednesday.
Garcetti also pointed out the frequent reports of illegal dumping of trash commonly found in Downtown Los Angeles which contribute to unsanitary conditions found within the encampments of the city’s most vulnerable. According to the Sanitation Bureau, 80% of waste that the city collects comes from illegal dumping, whose culprits are largely property owners (including business owners) who opt out of contracting with city-assigned trash collectors.
Garcetti vowed to curb illegal dumping by promising that the city will be more adamant about finding and penalizing those who don’t comply with the city’s trash collecting program
“Too often, we hear that the homeless encampment cleanups can inadvertently set people back on their pathway to housing through the accidental loss of key documents, or through the stress of unpredictable engagements with city teams, which can lessen trust over time,” the Sanitation Bureau said in a report.
Garcetti’s call for a more robust cleaning effort comes at the heels of an activist group calling for Garcetti’s resignation for not taking care of homelessness in LA, which has risen 16% over the past year.
On Wednesday, Republican political commentator and LA resident Alexandra Datig hosted her own press conference calling Los Angeles a “death camp” for the homeless and denounced Garcetti for his perceived lack of urgency in regards to the homeless problem.
“He can’t handle the crisis,” Datig said at her press conference held outside of City Hall. “He needs to step down.”
Datig said that the mayor has been served with a notice of intent for recall, which is the first step in a lengthy, expensive and rarely successful process to oust a mayor. According to the city clerk’s office, Datig would need 300,000 signatures or more in order to kickstart a recall election.
When asked about the recall effort at his press conference, Garcetti, a Democrat, said he won’t be deterred by “political games” and promised that his government is “spending every waking moment to confront this crisis.”