Homeless encampment in nearby Dominguez Channel cleared by LA County Sheriff’s Department


Photo credit: Jeremy Taylor

Homeless encampments are a common sight on the streets, channels and even along the freeways of California, from San Francisco to San Diego, and the El Camino College campus is not immune to the growing epidemic.

The homeless encampment along the Dominguez Channel, which separates Alondra Park from El Camino college, was cleared out Wednesday, March 14, with the help of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Lawndale Division and the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority.

According to FOX News, there are a half a million homeless in America and California has the largest homeless population in the United States, accounting for nearly 25 percent of the total population.

“This is a clean up of the people living in the channel, of course illegally and this was not proactive, this was by the demands of El Camino Village,” Los Angeles County Lieutenant John Burcher said.

The residents of the encampment were notified of the clearing before it occurred.

“We’ve been coming out here the last 3 to 4 months outreaching to them because we knew this was going to happen,” Oleta Simmons, Homeless Engagement Team Member of the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), said.

Services offered from the LAHSA are shelter, meals, showers, clothing, identification vouchers, job leads and medical care. According to Simmons, only two of the approximate 20 encampment residents accepted assistance.

“A lot of them lack a knowledge of the resources available and then some just don’t want the help,” Simmons said.

After residents departed from the channel, Long Beach based Ocean Blue Environmental Services handled clean up and removal of trash and bodily waste.

“As we go through the camp, we’re separating hazardous waste. We find a bunch of aerosols, paints, propane tanks. We’re separating everything and packaging everything accordingly,” Luis Valdez, Supervisor for Ocean Blue Environmental Services, said.

No weapons were found and no arrests were made during the clearing, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff Department.

Correction: Wednesday, March 21, 9:09 a.m., Corrections were made to misspelled names. The Union regrets these errors.