Homeless man found dead on LA's Skid Row during cold snap - www.Houseless.net


Homeless man found dead on LA's Skid Row during cold snap

AP |

A part of skid row in Los Angeles

The body of a homeless man was found just before dawn Monday on a Los Angeles Skid Row sidewalk, but it was unclear if the death was caused by the record cold.

City News Service said the name of the man, who appeared to be in his late 50s, wasn't released.

In Angeles National Forest, where overnight temperatures have been dropping into the 20s, 28-year-old Danny Kim of Arcadia, was found Sunday night after surviving 26 hours hiking in the frigid West Fork wilderness.

Kim was airlifted to a hospital for treatment of hypothermia.

Sheba, a dog of L.A.'s mean streets

A German shepherd mix, she provided love and comfort to those on skid row.

August 20, 2012|By Jeff Dietrich
People sit on 6th Street in Los Angeles' Skid Row area. (Grant Hindsley / Associated…)


LAPD officer in charge of Skid Row promises to enforce sidewalk laws

By Rina Palta
Published: Tuesday, June 26, 2012, at 02:59PM
Homeless people sleeping on a street on Skid Row

LAPD Officer Deon Joseph is the Senior Lead Officer for Skid Row in Downtown Los Angeles, where the city is currently undertaking a massive cleanup. Amidst the street sweeping and powerwashing, there are rumors of a crackdown on the homeless population that congregates on (and essentially lives on) Skid Row's sidewalks. Officer Joseph emailed us with his take on the situation. Here's what he had to say:

As far as Skid Row being a sit/lie/sleep safe zone, they are allowed to sleep on the sidewalk from 9 PM to 6 AM. But after six, they are supposed to pack their items and obey all sidewalk laws. This is an agreement reached by the city and civil liberties groups in 2006.

Prior to the Skid Row Injunction, most of the Skid Row community did just that. After the injunction, the sidewalk hoarders began hoarding items on the sidewalk, as the City tried to abide by and respect the order of the courts (and continues to do so). The hoarding anchored them to the sidewalk and they stopped utilizing area services. The sidewalk became their toilet, living room, and kitchen, as well as a place where many of them could conceal narcotics usage and sales.

The items they were hoarding were broken items, such as couches, car engines, TVs, chairs and other items that were simply discarded junk. Other items were donated clothes that they only used for toilet paper, or bedding. This atmosphere gave way to the thought of many from outside of Skid Row that this was once again a place where you could dump your unwanted items, and simply exacerbated the problem.

The fallout of this was a rise in crimes such as theft and violent crime (some of which surrounded the property on the sidewak), a rise in disease such as Hepatitis C, Staph, Scabies, and lice. Rodents and other vermin were returning as well, thanks to sidewalk feeders who would continue to enable to folks who were anchored down to the sidewalk. A more important factor was the human toll, as we began seeing an increase in sidewalk deaths and responses from the Fire Department for people suffering from overdoses, or disease.

Here are some statistics that support this:

- In 2005, 93 people died in this 50-block radius we call Skid Row. 18 of those individuals died in the streets in conditions similar to what we are experiencing.

 - After the inception of Safer Cities Initiative and its three-pronged approach to dealing with crime and quality of life issues (Enforcement, Outreach, Enhancement) Those stats changed dramatically. We all know about the 40% reduction in crime, but even deaths were reduced.

- In 2009, 63 people died in Skid Row. Only 5 died in the street or sidewalk because the sidewalks were cleared, and there were less places for people to hide and destroy themselves via narcotics, or unhealthy lifestyles that affected everyone. Also many people who truly were in skid row for services were then benefitting from them which was the plan all along.

After the 2011 injunction, I noticed an increase in filth and disease. Especially in my area, where there has never been a BID (Business Improvement District). I also noticed more people dying on the streets. I took the liberty to contact the Coroner’s office, an obtained these statistics for 2011. In 2011, 123 people died in Skid Row, 15 of them died on the street. These stats nearly mirror what was happening before SCI.

Another statistic that may interest you is the response from the Fire Department as a result of Skid Being allowed to return to a decrepit state. In the 1st 3 months of 2011 (the 1st Quarter), the LAFD responded to 754 call for service. This is typical. After the injunction in April, their call load in our Division and Skid Row began to increase. In the 3rd quarter of 2011 (July, August, September post injunction) the LAFD responded to 1,451 calls for service. The majority of those calls were in the Skid Row area.

Now as far as future enforcement of sidewalk ordinances, we have been on an aggressive campaign over the past few months to warn chronic violators of sidewalk ordinances such as 41.18 (D) LAMC - sitting, sleeping, laying on a public sidewalk/56.11 LAMC - storing personal items on the sidewalk/42.00 (B) LAMC - Illegal vending on the sidewalk before taking action.

This was done through passing out fliers, and verbally educating the skid row community, and alerting them that future arrest and or cites were pending. We have provided the aforementioned individuals plenty of time to get their things in order before we take the necessary steps in supporting other city and county agencies in restoring a healthy saner quality of life in Skid Row again.

We will be enforcing these laws, while at the same time respecting the injunction, and the constitutional rights of the individuals we deal with. We have a storage facility nearby (Temple and Alameda) for the large property of those we arrest. For items deemed a health and safety hazard, they will be discarded as such.

With all of the hindrance we have in reducing crime (AB109/Injunction/Jails Revolving Door) we have to restore a sense of order again in Skid Row, via what many would consider the enforcement of "so called" innocuous violations. But this enforcement was key in reducing crime and maintaining order before the injunction, and it will be key in bringing it back. I am proud of what we accomplished for the past 7 years prior to the injunction, because lives were saved and crime was reduced. And that to me is more important than someone being allowed to keep a bucket of urine on the sidewalk.

[Above] is a photo of what I speak. The inhumane part of the photo to me, is allowing the man in the photo to lay in filth.


Major Skid Row Cleaning Launched

City to Scrub Streets for Three Weeks; New Storage Facility Opens

Posted: Monday, June 18, 2012 8:00 pm | Updated: 10:18 am, Wed Jun 20, 2012.
by Ryan Vaillancourt, Staff Writer

Major Skid Row Cleaning to Launch Tuesday

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES – City officials are launching a major street and sidewalk cleaning program in Skid Row this morning. The sweeps, a response to ongoing public health concerns in the poverty-stricken neighborhood, are slated to continue daily for up to three weeks.

The plan, spearheaded by the office of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, has been in the works since the County Health Department cited the city on March 21 for health code violations tied to human waste, hypodermic needles and other hazardous materials found in the area, said Villaraigosa spokesman Peter Sanders.

Officials with the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority canvassed Skid Row today, alerting people living on the streets about the impending cleanup, LAHSA spokesman Peter Griffith said. Along with the planned cleanings, officials have turned a city-owned property at 432 E. Temple St. into a storage facility where crews will take bulky items seized during the sweeps.

“We’re coming out Tuesday morning with the Bureau of Sanitation, Bureau of Street Services and public health experts and we’re going to identify those items which are clearly public health issues as referenced in the county report,” said Patrick Butler, assistant chief with the Los Angeles Fire Department and acting spokesman for what the city has dubbed Operation Healthy Streets.

On Tuesday morning, crews will target Gladys Avenue between Fifth and Seventh streets, and then tackle one-to-two block segments every day until the entire neighborhood has been pressure-washed, treated with disinfectant solutions and ridden of contaminants — from vermin dens to clothing piles that could be harboring disease, Butler said.

The plan is long overdue in the eyes of Skid Row-area social service providers, businesses and property owners who have been complaining about public health concerns long before county officials formally documented them.

“I don’t think any one of us can say we’re satisfied until we see what the results are, but I can say that we’re delighted at the response from the mayor’s office,” said Estela Lopez, executive director of the Central City East Association, which represents area property owners.
Conditions have deteriorated in Skid Row since June 2011, when U.S. District Court Judge Philip Gutierrez issued a temporary injunction barring the city from seizing and destroying apparently abandoned items from area sidewalks. The ruling came in response to a lawsuit filed on behalf of homeless individuals who, after going inside to access social services, returned to find that personal belongings left on the sidewalk had been seized and destroyed by a city cleaning crew.

While the injunction allows the city to remove items posing health or safety risks, authorities have operated carefully in the wake of the injunction. Some critics of the city’s response, including the homeless advocacy group the Los Angeles Community Action Network, which helped orchestrate the lawsuit that prompted the injunction, say authorities have neglected their obligation to maintain public health standards.

City officials had defended their unwillingness to remove bulky items and sidewalk pile-ups partly on grounds that they had nowhere to store the items. The injunction mandates that all seized items (except those that pose health or safety risks) be stored for 90 days.

Now, the city has a storage solution. The warehouse at 432 E. Temple St. will hold all bulky items left on sidewalks during the planned cleanings, Sanders said. Downtown-based nonprofit Chrysalis will operate the facility.

The city also plans to reimburse the Central City East Association for costs associated with doubling the capacity of its voluntary storage warehouse on Seventh Street, Lopez said. Homeless individuals have stored personal belongings there for years, but until now, the facility has operated at capacity, Lopez said. Additional funds, which will come from LAHSA, will help pay for the personnel needed to staff the expanded warehouse, she said.

The Department of Public Works has hired a hazardous materials expert to accompany city crews during the daily cleanings. The consultant will identify items that pose public health concerns so they can be trashed, Butler said. All other belongings will go to the Temple Street warehouse, where they will be held for 90 days.

The LAHSA outreach team is informing people living on the streets about the warehouse and directing them to the CCEA’s facility. Printed notifications about the cleaning plan and the storage options were seen posted on light poles in the area today. The LAHSA team will also attempt to steer people to homeless services.

City Attorney Carmen Trutanich has appealed the Gutierrez injunction. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has yet to rule on the matter. A decision is expected this summer.

Contact Ryan Vaillancourt at ryan@downtownnews.com

Lest we not forget!

15th St. and M St. in DC, "The Houseless" at http://Houseless.net