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Santa Monica Deals With Fallout as Venice Encampments Cleared
 

Bob Kronovetrealty
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Santa Monica

Santa Monica Apartments

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By Jorge Casuso

July 12, 2021 -- Efforts continued over the weekend to ensure the homeless persons cleared from encampments pitched along the Venice Boardwalk don't relocate across the border in Santa Monica.

A team of some two dozen public safety and homeless outreach workers were deployed to contact those who moved into the city after crews began clearing the encampments shortly after 7 a.m. Friday.

"We are not seeing numbers or entrenched encampments like they had in Venice," said Santa Monica Police Sgt. Erica Aklufi. "They've been warned. The word does get out."

Santa Monica's "visibility operation" Friday resulted in 18 "outreach referrals," 16 advisals, ten field interviews, five citations and one arrest for public camping, Aklufi said.

The effort continued on a smaller scale over the weekend, with preliminary information provided by the Department's HLP team showing no citations or arrests, Aklufi said.

On Saturday there were seven advisals for public camping and six advisals on Sunday, three for camping and three most likely for tents on the beach, she said.

According to the HLP Team, most encampments are still located on the City of LA side of the beach. There are several encampments on the border, which the department continues to monitor.

Friday's operation was a collaboration between the HLP Team, Neighborhood Resource Officers, patrol officers, the LA County Department of Mental Health and the Santa Monica Fire Department.

A Fire Captain, West Coast Care and the County’s C3 outreach team -- which is funded by the City and operated by The People’s Concern -- also participated.

The Mobile Command Post was stationed in Lot 4 South, Aklufi said. Beach maintenance helped clear the encampments.

Unlike Venice, Santa Monica can enforce its anti-camping laws becase the City can provide shelter to those displaced from the encampments, City officials said.

"Historically, we've been careful with leading with engagement,"" Aklufi said. "We don't arrest for camping unless they've been warned."

On Friday, County Commissioner Sheila Kuehl said that "significant and humane progress" was being made n addressing the homeless crisis on the Boardwalk.

As of Thursday, the “Encampment to Home” initiative at Venice Beach had placed 103 Los Angeles homeless residents in interim housing, said Kuehl, whose district includes Santa Monica and Venice.

"Every day, homeless service providers are engaging those still in the area to build the relationships and trust required to truly and effectively help them," Kuehl said.

"People experiencing homelessness often have been through unimaginable trauma and these outreach workers understand that," she said.

"They have been trained to meet them where they are and are willing to put in the hard work to get people to 'yes.'”

Los Angeles officials expect it will take several weeks to help the homeless pack and move out.


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