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Homelessness takes center stage in Koreatown once again after reports that a yet-to-be-identified party placed numerous boulders on city property in a probable attempt to discourage houseless individuals from camping out in the neighborhood.
More than two dozen boulders dot the residential sidewalk at an access driveway to the Shato Recreation Center on South Westmoreland Avenue, according to ABC 7 reporter Rob Hayes.
Locals say the boulders quickly appeared after a homeless encampment was cleared from the area. Ever since then, no tents have reappeared.
“Frequently, following sweeps, we’ll see new barriers put up to prevent people from returning to the location where they were camping,” Ktown for All co-founder Michael Dickerson told Streets Blog LA. “In Ktown, we’ve seen local businesses use construction fences and planters to block off public spaces. In one case, a local church planted thorn bushes along a strip of grass that had been previously occupied by a small unhoused community. Whether rocks, planters, or fences, these objects are usually placed by private individuals without proper permits. The end result is that public spaces are made unusable by anyone, and unhoused people are forced to move along to a new location.”
A resident who had moved to the area four months ago told Hayes the boulders had been there for at least as long as he had. In an email to ABC 7, city officials claimed they learned of the boulders Tuesday. The neighborhood lies in L.A. City Councilmember Gil Cedillo’s district and a representative told NBCLA Wednesday that the rocks will be removed, though no timeline was offered.
“Illegally placing boulders in the public right-of-way in an attempt to deal with homelessness issues is totally unacceptable,” the office’s statement said. “As the number one leader of all Council Districts in the number of affordable and number two leader in permanent supportive housing, (Council District 1) is committed to continuing to develop interim and permanent housing and provide support services for our unhoused neighbors.”