More than 120 people have already been moved into transitional housing, official says.
City officials are planning to close Echo Park for repair which will include the removal of the city’s largest self-managed encampment with more than 100 tents. The closure would go on for an undefined period of time to clear up an estimated $500,000 in damage, according to officials.
The area would be fenced off as soon as Thursday, a source told the Los Angeles Times. But a spokesperson for City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, who represents the area, has only confirmed that the repairs are going ahead.
On Wednesday morning at around 7 a.m., hundreds of Echo Park residents and neighbors showed up to protest against the removal of the tents and the displacement of unhoused individuals. The crowd gathered at the lake and later moved to O’Farrell’s office.
We are here in Echo Park in solidarity with our unhoused neighbors.
Public space for public good. #EchoParkRiseUp pic.twitter.com/YT6LG67zAh
— DSA-LA 🌹 (@DSA_LosAngeles) March 24, 2021
Many of the protestors spoke of the relief the pandemic had given them. Without the need to constantly worry about cleaning crews and LAPD showing up, they were able to establish a sense of community—there have even been communal showers, gardens, a jobs program and more have been created during the lockdown.
Community activists & unhoused residents of Echo Park Lake are bracing for a forced eviction of the unhoused camp at the park. The city and LAPD intend on displacing the unhoused residents there and closing the park. Activists plan to defend the camp tomorrow. #EchoParkRiseUp pic.twitter.com/ITPpRcVsJd
— Vishal P Singh (@VPS_Reports) March 24, 2021
“#EchoParkRiseUp” trended on Twitter all morning and a GoFundMe page has since been set up that aims to cover the needs of the community, including a jobs program, basic supplies and the beautification of the encampment. It has almost reached its $20,000 goal.
In response, O’Farrell released a statement that his office has been working with the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) to move over 120 people into transitional housing over the last few weeks, including Project Roomkey hotel rooms.
More than 120 people experiencing homelessness at Echo Park Lake have been successfully moved into transitional housing. This includes non-congregate shelter options at a nearby Project Roomkey site. pic.twitter.com/lsmX1raHlw
— Mitch O’Farrell (@MitchOFarrell) March 24, 2021
“If you share our goal of providing housing, supportive case services, and medical care to Los Angeles’ most vulnerable residents, I urge people not to gather at the Lake but rather support this ongoing work to help people get housed without interruption,” O’Farrell said in a Tweet.
No further information has been released, but an official announcement is expected to be released soon.
[Featured Image: Free To Use Sounds via Unsplash]