Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Homeless camp broken up

Judy Clark, 61, who has lived for three years in a homeless encampment, waits for friends to bring a van to put her belongings into storage.

A homeless encampment along the Los Angeles River has been broken up, forcing about 20 people to move from the area.

The camp's residents said some of them had been living in the same spot for five years and had no place to go.

Officials from two nearby cities said the camp had become a health and safety concern, with residents defecating in bushes and lighting fires to keep warm. Officials acted after receiving complaints from cyclists who felt unsafe using a bike path.

A spokesman said the city became aware of the campsite two or three months ago.

Twice last week, notices were distributed warning camp residents to be out by 8 a.m. Monday. Camp dwellers said they had been told to leave once before and nothing happened, so few took any notice. But by 7 a.m., the loaders and dump trucks were there. They were allowed to pack their belongings before city work crews began dismantling the camp.

Judy Clark said she used to work as a physical therapist but was laid off. Her boyfriend, Steve Orndoff, lost his commercial driving license when he failed to pay a ticket. When the bills became too much three years ago, they moved into the encampment.

Orndoff said he had recently gotten his license back and that the eviction would motivate him to pursue work. Clark was looking forward to a bubble bath at a motel where they planned to stay overnight.

"I'm done with camping," she said.

Read the Los Angeles Times report here.


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