Homed Who Live Next to Homeless Encampments in Los Angeles . by Alice B. Clagett

Written and published on 11 September 2019

Dear Ones,

It seems to me there is concern for personal safety among homeowners and their families who live next to homeless encampments in Los Angeles. On mulling over this issue, I came to understand the depth of despair of fathers and husbands who have invested their life savings in providing homes for their families, and whose wives and children can no longer safely leave home at night, because of homeless encampments on their sidewalks or in treed or grassy areas nearby.

It occurred to me that passive defense systems might offer an alternative to taking the law into one’s own hands on behalf of family safety. Along these lines, I thought homeowners might consider installing floodlights that illuminate terrain between them and the homeless encampments at night, so that their families could feel safe to walk out of their houses. I also wonder if high fences around homeowners’ yards might help.

Housing codes regarding the height of property fences can cause trouble with safety in these times, as those who wrote the codes could not have foreseen the current difficulty. Maybe property fencing codes could be got round by using temporary construction fencing in the yard? Maybe it might be sensible to go ahead and put up high fences around the home, with the agreement of one’s neighbors, since getting the codes changed may take some time.

In addition, I thought, it might be possible to install perimeter electronic alarms, that would provide a warning if the yard is trespassed on? Maybe others will come up with passive defense systems for homed families as well.

I know it is not fair to think about putting walls up and protecting our homes. It’s not something we have ever had to do before. Why should we have to do it now? Why should we go to the expense? Why does not the City of Los Angeles just fix the problem? It seems to me that is what folks are wondering, and I have been wondering that too.

Finally it came to me that the City of Los Angeles may not have a solution for us. They may not have the staff, the financial resources, or the flexible problem-solving ability to deal with the question. I say that because the problem has been before LA for 10 years now, and the City has not come up with a solution.

It seems to me that we Los Angeles homeowners must come up with our own solutions. But what will those solutions be? Some feel angry; they feel like hurting the homeless. Others feel afraid; again and again, they ask the Los Angeles Police Department to remove the homeless from their block.

I myself feel that we ought to do my best to find physical deterrents, such as high fences, perimeter alarm systems, and camera surveillance systems to protect our homes from the unhomed, and from roaming felon gangs.

When our homes are as protected as possible, we can feel safe to continue to work with our communities towards good solutions.

I recently went to a meeting of the West Hills Neighborhood Council Committee on Homelessness. It seemed to me they work with the office of the Mayor in a political way. The political approach involves jockeying with the powers that be for application of the City’s very limited financial resources to a problem for which we are lobbying, in our own interests.

Politicking takes time. More than 10 years … that is patently clear. I feel we need to find other grassroots ways to solve this problem.

Right now, I am thinking we could approach West Hills churches, civic groups, clubs, and businesses we belong to or patronize, and ask them what they can do to help. Could be we the people can together find a solution to the problem of West Hills homelessness … a solution that so far has eluded City Hall.

In love, light and joy,
I Am of the Stars


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community health, Los Angeles, West Hills, homelessness, safety, law enforcement, protection, crime prevention, survival, sustainable living, politics, West Hills Neighborhood Council,


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