LOS ANGELES (CNS) — With a backlog of requests for homeless camp cleanups continuing to grow, a Los Angeles City Council committee has signed off on the city’s Bureau of Sanitation’s request for more money this fiscal year to make a dent in the problem.
The number of cleanup requests for homeless encampments and illegal dumping sites nearly tripled between April 2016 and the end of 2017, according to the bureau, and the city finished the year backlogged by 3,884 out of the 19,884 requests it received.
In 2018, the backlog has continued to grow because the incoming requests are increasing and the program is expanding to cover non-street locations, such as high fire-hazard severity zones and the Tujunga and Pacoima Washes, according to the Bureau of Sanitation. These areas have been overlooked.
In order to help mitigate the problem, the bureau was seeking an additional $814,637 for the rest of the fiscal year, which ends June 30, and the request is set to be discussed by the Energy, Climate Change and Environmental Justice Committee.
The bureau’s cleanup of homeless camps and illegal dump sites has a budget of $13.7 million this fiscal year, which is up from $12.7 million for the 2016-17 fiscal year, and it is also planning on asking for a budget increase for the 2018-19 fiscal year, although it has not publicly released what the dollar amount will be.
Fulfilling requests to cleanup homeless camps and illegal dump sites is performed by the Bureau of Sanitation’s Livability and Environmental Quality Program, which includes Operation Healthy Streets-Skid Row and Operation Healthy Streets-Venice, two teams dedicated to cleanups in those two areas.
The other two programs are Clean Streets LA, and the Homeless Outreach and Proactive Engagement, or HOPE, teams, which consist of teams made up of police officers, sanitation workers and outreach workers.The other two programs are Clean Streets LA, and the Homeless Outreach and Proactive Engagement, or HOPE, teams, which consist of teams made up of police officers, sanitation workers and outreach workers.
Clean Streets LA added a fifth team at the beginning of this year and the HOPE program added two more teams for a total of six. Elena Stern, spokeswoman for the Department of Public Works, which oversees the Bureau of Sanitation, said in February that the request for the 2018-19 fiscal year will be for five more Clean Streets LA and three more HOPE crews, although she would not say what the dollar amount of the request would be.
The request for more money this fiscal year would go toward reassigning staff to augment a HOPE team during the workweek and providing evening and weekend overtime to Clean Streets teams through the end of the fiscal year, which would result in 1,948 additional service requests being cleared, according to the Bureau of Sanitation.