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Sweeps Week in West Hollywood

Would it help if people understood that the oppression of unhoused residents in LA is largely rooted in racism and homophobia?

Would it help if people understood that the oppression of the homeless in LA is largely rooted in racism and homophobia (among other things)? A group of unhoused queer black people (mostly trans women) at Poinsettia Park in Hollywood are going to experience another sweep tomorrow morning. This is an affluent, mostly white neighborhood. I’ve met and spoken to the property owners in that area leading the crusade against them, and I can tell you that even if they were housed, they would absolutely not be OK with these folks living next to them.

Black people make up less than 10% of LA’s overall population, yet account for more than 40% of the homeless population. LA also has the largest unhoused LGBT and LGBT youth populations in the country, despite New York having considerably larger overall LGBT and homeless populations.

So tomorrow, West Hollywood, famous for it’s tolerance of queer people that aren’t poor, will once again dispatch a half dozen deputies (or more) from the Sheriff’s department to ensure that none of these people cross the street from the park into WeHo, where it is illegal to sit on the sidewalk or store any belongings in public.

Shortly after LASD WeHo division had a civilian oversight meeting at the LGBT Center to talk about diversity, they sent a fleet of cops to threaten unhoused queer people with arrest. I counted six cars at this sweep.

The Los Angeles Department of Sanitation with the assistance of the LAPD, will destroy everyone’s belongings that can’t be fit into a garbage bag in 15 minutes. This means virtually everyone’s tents will be destroyed. If people try to move their belongings “out of range” down the street, they will be pursued by these teams and have their stuff tossed (preferably once they’ve left for work so that they can’t try and move again (oh yeah, most of these people have jobs)).

The cops and city will say that the folks there are just refusing to go to a shelter, although there are only 17,000 shelter beds in the county (TOTAL, not empty), and over 60,000 homeless people. If you bring this up to them, you’ll get a very dumb look back and maybe a shrug.

Two LAPD officers confront an unhoused man standing near several tents in Poinsettia Park.


LAPD conducting “outreach” just before the last sweep at the park. This guy didn’t have ID and I guess their camera’s facial recognition software wasn’t working, so they just arrested him in case. The belongings he was forced to leave behind were destroyed. We were not permitted to move them.

If everyone calling 311 all the time to demand HOPE teams come through their neighborhood and push the homeless there into the adjacent neighborhood, instead demanded that resources be spent on housing, this problem would be solved permanently, and believe it or not would cost less. Oh yeah, and we wouldn’t have to incarcerate more black people or kill anyone by throwing their medication away.

We know that tomorrow’s sweep is just one of many that will be carried out that day, however the city refuses to disclose where the other locations are. We only find out when the physical notices are posted at the site of a sweep, and even then only when we check in on known encampments or happen to catch one while driving by. If you ever see a sweep notice or a sweep being carried out, you can help us by texting it’s location to (323) 379–2275 or emailing email hidden; JavaScript is required, and by posting it to twitter and tagging @DSA_LosAngeles.

For now, you can help by calling these elected officials and demand this sweep not be carried out:

Councilmember Paul Koretz __________(213) 473–7005 Mayor Eric Garcetti _________________ (213) 978–0600 Supervisor Sheila Kuehl _____________ (213) 974–3333