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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

LA County Evicting Homeless

Patty Munoz built her one-room home with her bare hands -- now the county wants her to move.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Works Flood Control District wants to move a homeless encampment on the side of the Rio-Hondo Bike Path in the city of Rosemead, and another camp on the side of the San Gabriel River.

On Feb. 7, the Flood Control District posted signs in front of homeless camps along the San Gabriel River saying: “Property of Los Angeles County Flood Control District, Trespassing loitering forbidden by law, Up to $1000 fine or six months imprisonment or both California penal code sections 552-558.1.602, Posted on 2-7-13.”

The Vet Hunters is a non-profit group of volunteers whose goal it is to help end homelessness for veterans and non-veterans alike. They visited these homeless camps to help residents figure out their options, informing them about the upcoming cleanup efforts, and alternative residential possibilities.

Joe Leal, founder of the Vet Hunters group, says that there is some danger in the homeless encampment located next to the river, which is part of the reason why the LA Public Works wants them out.

The area bordering the San Gabriel River and the Rio-Hondo Bike Path is used to divert flood waters, and with the spring flood season approaching, county officials are leery of exposing anyone to danger.

The Department of Public Works and the sheriff’s department have not given a definitive date for the move.

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