March 26, 2021
We've heard from many of our constituents and neighbors about the events at Echo Park Lake and the welfare of the unhoused people residing there. Although the park isn't a part of Council District 4, it is part of this beautiful city we all call home and we are all connected. Our team has supported efforts to help those experiencing homelessness at the lake access shelter and other resources, and we opposed the use of LAPD to forcibly evict those who had not yet been helped into safe lodging. Councilwoman Raman wrote the following words last night:
I was powerfully saddened by what I witnessed the last two days at Echo Park Lake. The sudden closure of the park, the massive LAPD presence, the use of force against protestors, the enclosure of unhoused people who were in the process of placement into hotel shelters behind gates — none of it needed to happen. All served to undermine an already frayed relationship between city government and the people of Los Angeles, and particularly unhoused people, for whom a dynamic of trust is essential for addressing our homelessness crisis.
Perhaps saddest of all is that this moment could have been a joyous one for Los Angeles. Thanks to efforts from LAHSA, service providers, volunteers, and city officials, more than 150 people from Echo Park Lake were sheltered in hotels in recent weeks. Service providers were close to securing safe, healthy lodging for everyone in the park. But instead of celebrating a model of addressing homelessness in LA, we've made headlines for a forced encampment removal and another mass confrontation with LAPD.
We can still right this ship. I ask that Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell and Mayor Eric Garcetti commit to not forcibly evicting people from the park, as the last remaining residents are still being helped into safe lodging.
Addressing our city’s homelessness crisis with a humane and services-oriented approach remains our top priority. We look forward to continuing to work with you, together, to make Los Angeles the loving and welcoming place for all that we know it to be.