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A homeless woman and Angeleno Heights residents are left waiting for help

Angeleno Heights street scene

By LUCY GUANUNA

ANGELENO HEIGHTS — Police have been called as have mental health workers. All to no avail. That has left the people who live on the 900 block of W. Kensington Road to wonder why a homeless woman who has been sleeping on porches and sometimes arguing with people has not received any help.

“There really seems to be a gap in services available, and it’s been frustrating to see that there’s no support for her,” said resident Jovi Schnell.

For a few weeks now Schnell and other residents have reported seeing the same homeless woman in her mid-to-late 20’s walking up and down the street lined with the Craftsman and Victorian-era homes and apartments that this neighborhood is famous for.

At one point the woman set up an encampment on the porch of a vacant house. After neighbors called the police, the woman left the porch. But she later returned.

The superintendent of an apartment building on the block, Nune Arnautovic, found blankets and makeup in a vacant unit after he was notified by his tenants that the door to the unit was left open. As Arnautovic moved the belongings out of the unit, the homeless woman confronted him, insisting that it was her apartment. He called 911, but officers never showed up, and he was instructed to call another number.

“She didn’t do anything wrong in the apartment, she just wanted to sleep,” said Arnautovic. “I feel bad for her.”

On a recent weekend afternoon, Schnell contacted police when she noticed the woman walking from door to door, jiggling doorknobs. She was told there was nothing police could do if the woman was not a threat to herself or others. She then reached out to the L.A. County Department of Mental Health Services, but their offices were closed on Sunday.

“A neighbor told me she did this in another part of the neighborhood last year,” said Schnell. She said she has noticed a lack of homeless services available in her neighborhood compared to Downtown’s Skid Row.

As homelessness has increased by 75% countywide over the last six years, the homeless have gone deeper into residential areas like Angeleno Heights looking for safe places to sleep.

“With the transient situation that’s going on right now and with the encampments everywhere, we’re basically hands off as long as the [homeless people] are not violating any laws, per the mayor’s office,” said Officer Mora (who declined to provide her first name) with the LAPD Rampart Division.

If a person qualifies for a mental health evaluation, officers are instructed to call  the LAPD’s Mental Evaluation Unit, which works with a program to provide referrals, intervention and placement in mental facilities for those in need, Mora said. But it’s up to the officer to begin that process.

“If an officer is responding to calls and they’re not doing anything [with the homeless woman], she’s obviously not meeting the standards for a mental evaluation and hold,” said Mora in reference to the homeless woman on Kensington. “There’s a lot of transients and they all have some sort of drug or mental issue. We can’t take every one of them off the street.”

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29 comments

  1. Please try calling the Downtown Women Center.
    Maybe they can help this women.
    213 680-0600

  2. Yikes. That’s a grim story. It really speaks to the depth of problem when the LAPD response is just “hey, there’s lots of homeless, whaddya expect?” Isn’t jiggling doorknobs to try to enter a place that you don’t live in a clear example of “violating [a] law?”

    • Jiggling doors not a violation and apparently neither is entering of the door is not locked as long as nothing stolen and no one harmed.

  3. “…per the mayor’s office,” said Officer Mora…

    And that’s why Eric Garcetti is delusional to think that he could be governor, much less president.

    How easy will it be for any opponent to show video & statistics of the city’s expanding Hoovervilles?

    It’s my understanding that this woman broke into another house near the apartment building, as well, insisting that she lived there to the police who asked her to leave.

  4. Officer Mora says “we can’t take every one of them off the streets.” Wow. It’s comforting to hear a member of our law enforcement washing her hands of the situation. (and no, I’m not criticizing ALL law enforcement, just the public statement made by this one officer)

    • OK, try this math. We have now what, 58,000 homeless people on the streets, and we have no housing for any of them, and that includes not even a cot at a rescue mission — that’s why they’re on the street. So, when the police take them off the street, as you insist, where is it you propose they be taken?

      Don’t forget, we’re talking of no criminal acts, so not to jail — although it has been the policy of this city, and lead by Garcetti from way back, to roust the homeless and find any excuse to arrest them, this starting way back in the early 2000s when the new crop of politicians came into City Hall. This approach continues today, constant rousting and arrests and no help despite plenty of talk of help. The idea of this city’s homeless policy has been and is to do everything possible to run the homeless out of town, not to help them, the bit about help has proven to be just empty talk for the masses.

      The earlier heavy police action against the homeless was focused on Skid Row in downtown (all the better to provide for developers — with money to give for campaigns, office holder accounts, charities Garcetti operates for HIS benefit and who don’t have to make their donors public — to buy cheap and then sell high, and we now see more and more of Skid Row being taken over for high priced developments), and as that became ever more of a problem for homeless people to be, they have moved out across the city. And the rousting has followed them.

      Even with the new tax to build homeless housing, it now turns out that about 80% of that money spent has gone to even more police action to roust and arrest homeless, nearly nothing done for even some quick temporary housing. Garcetti promised to open city parking lots to the homeless at night 4-5 years ago, but still has not done so — he is all talk, but his actions normally are the opposite of what he says; he talks liberal and acts right wing, so the homeless get no help, they get police action against them instead, and even after the tax, he has gotten the homeless nothing, only even more police action against them.

      And you don’t see anuy reason why the homeless are not just taken of the street and put ins some housing somewhere?

      • And I should add: Don’t misunderstand, it isn’t for lack of vacant housing. Oh, right there in downtown at a place where the lower rent people lived near Skid Row everyone was kicked out, developer came in and remade it, its for rich people, and it remains 25% vacant — because hardly anyone can afford it, and they sure will not be dropping the price, they don’t care about the vacancies so much as letting anyone beneath their class live there, those places will be filled eventually if the “riff raff” aren’t in there. And while a place for the riff raff was lost, we now have more “riff raff” on the streets, their old places are left with a lot of vacancies. Everything being built here now is NOT for the people who are living here now, not most of them.

        And yet, the overall plan is left secret. Instead, we make political slogans and bolster the developers., and roust the homeless, and evict them to the streets, and try to bust them, we have to be taken to court and forced to even so much as let the homeless whose possessions we have taken have those back. After a long litigation, we relented so as not to have to o more. And then we stored those possessions we had taken at least five miles away from the homeless they were taken from. But first, he has to deal with downtown, handle whatever case might be going on, and then he gets the permit to get get his stuff — five miles away, on foot. And this guy isn’t exactly a 20-something surfer guy, you know. He’s more like half dead from living on the street. And he doesn’t want to be too far from the soup kitchen. Round trip, and with all his belongings, maybe a shopping cart full — that is all he owns — this is at least a two-day trip. Enough about that. Then he gets back, and next morning bright and early, they take his stuff again. And it is stored at least five miles away. And he has to deal with downtown first. And that the permission to get his stuff.

        And its not over a housing shortage.

        No, it like the place on Santa Monica Blvd. near Manzanita, where 99 units of single-room studio apartments — you know, the lower priced housing — were evicted, and the city is letting that happen in order to convert the place to a hotel. And our Councilman had nary a negative word against that.

        Or the five unit apartment down the street from me were everyone was evicted and the place will be torn down to build a bit more units — this because they were required to retrofit the building under Garcetti’s requirement that that type of car port be retrofitted. He insisted it wouldn’t cost much, and that the state would send money for it, but of course it did not, and yet tenants are going to have to pay the bill, and it costs so much that the owner doesn’t want anything to do with that, sells it to be torn down, at a very tidy profit, of course.

        But the five units can’t afford the market out there, no one did a thing for those tenants, who had been paying the bills there all these years — they shout about homelessness, and then they set policies ripe for this, a pattern, and five more units of people pushed toward the street. And now the rousting starts.

        So that retrofit policy is another that was handled pretty callously — and was that intentionally,i t fits the pattern — and how that people are being evicted and buildings torn down, and more people are landing on the streets.

        This is how to get rid of the riff raff from the city.

        And there are homeless people in Angelino Heights.

  5. We can house refugees but why can’t we house Americans, women and veterans

  6. On NextDoor there was a recommendation for Good Shepard shelter for women and children. http://gschomeless.org
    ~~~~~
    Following Information is also from NextDoor:

    Here are numbers for Department of Mental Health Homeless Outreach:
    213 480-3480 Monday – Friday 9-5 or after hours 1800 854-7771.
    ~~~~~
    perhaps 211.
    https://www.211la.org/

    “…providing information and referrals for all health and human services in LA County. Our 2-1-1 phone line is open 24 hours, 7 days a week, with trained Community Resource Advisors prepared to offer help with any situation, any time.”
    ~~~~~
    Downtown Women’s Center: https://www.downtownwomenscenter.org

    “The Downtown Women’s Center (DWC) is the only organization in Los Angeles focused exclusively on serving and empowering women experiencing homelessness and formerly homeless. Founded in 1978, DWC was the first permanent supportive housing provider for women in the U.S.”

  7. This is so ridiculous. Let’s be honest. These people in Angelino Heights aren’t concerned about this homeless woman – they simply don’t want transients breaking into their homes. And why should they? Presumably they, like most tax-paying Angelinos, are working hard for their piece of the American Dream – a piece that comes with a cost like everything else in this life.

    We bust our ass to buy property, to save money and support our families – and then you have homeless advocates screaming that we aren’t doing enough even though we just passed a major tax on ourselves to help the indigent. You know who’s not doing enough? The drifters and drunks and predators who spend their days befouling public parks, blocking our streets and verbally harassing passersby.

    If this woman is mentally ill, the city needs to help her. Same with veterans who have served our country. But there are an equal number of homeless people who won’t work, refuse to go into shelter, party 24/7, and refuse to clean themselves up.

    The moment we, as liberal Californians, stop lying to ourselves about who really constitutes the homeless population is the moment we can actually fix this problem.

    If everyone’s a victim then no one has to take any responsibility – and the problem will only grow worse.

    • Thank you!!! It is difficult medicine to hear but the truth.

    • Voice, you are showing a complete lack of understanding of the issue. Just one example is in saying that “You know who’s not doing enough? The drifters and drunks and predators who spend their days befouling public parks, blocking our streets and verbally harassing passersby.” There are SOME of those, but that is hardly what all the homeless people are, most are not.

      And the policies around here have been making a LOT more people homeless. All these developments you are seeing are causing a lot of people to be run out of their homes, and they can’t afford the higher rents out there, so land on the street. As an example, we just allowed the eviction of everyone in a 99-unit place (one-room studios, so cheaper rent) on Santa Monica Blvd. in the Sunset Junction area of Silver Lake to be evicted in order to convert the building to a hotel for tourists! The 99 units, surely of more than 100 people, can’t afford the rents out there now, you better expect them to land of the streets of Angelino Heights too. This is not an aberration, the city has been allowed a very large number of low-priced housing units to the evicted, and either converted to hotels or condos or just plain torn down to build another place for rich people.

      The city’s entire gentrification (which means run the people there now out and bring in the wealthy) for the past 15 years is more responsible for the homelessness than anything else, far more responsible than any housing “shortage.” And the city officials have refused to even consider this, despite a LOT of input and pleas and complaints from organizations at hearings for many years. By their actions, the city officials have shown they WANT these people homeless and so distressed that they will leave LA, they only want rich people here, and they are going to continue with the policies that are causing that change.

      Even our great and wonderful minimum wage coming up of $15 an hour won’t pay the rent. That’s about $32,000 a year. Once taxers are taken out, they end up with more like $18,000, maybe $20,000. But even at what is now low priced rent of $1,500 a month, the landlord is taking $18,000 a year! Aren’t these people allowed to eat? Or even buy a bicycle to go to work? Aren’t they allowed to have electricity, gas? For god’s sake, we’re talking of people working hard for 40 hours a week — but facing homelessness!

      To make a blanket statement and express such attitudes is spouting hate, not understanding. Its the kind of thing I would expect to hear from Donald Trump.

    • Amen. This post is 100% correct

  8. Homeowners are bearing the brunt of this homeless crisis. Luckily here in City Terrace we do not have a homeless encampment problem. The people in this neighborhood will not tolerate anyone parking their RV or setting up a tent on the sidewalk. We call the Sheriff and they will remove the homeless or if that does not work we handle it ourselves. The LAPD needs to take a hard hand with homeless people. They should have arrested this woman and taken her to Skid Row and dropped her off there. The people in Angeleno Heights pay high 6 and 7 figures for their homes and the renters are paying north of $2500 a month in rent and should not have to deal with this problem.

  9. Hyperbole infested thread, people come to be homeless and stay that way because of weather, ease, sloth, drugs and or mental health.
    Save your diatribes until you know the real reason it has gotten so bad, it is because of Jones V LA at the behest of Carol Sobel a ACLU who makes a living off suing LA and lives in a 3 million dollar home in Santa Monica.

    I had a business near skid row most of you have no idea of the condition nor the absolute madness of entitlement they have gained from non enforcement. Unless you have come to your business with a dead decaying body out front , heroine needles or feces in your doorstep, vandalism, theft, death threats then please save your “compassion” until you do so. I had to close up shop it got so bad. The roaming gangs that control skid row employ many of the addicts you guys have no idea the living hell the LAPD has to deal with down there and now all over LA because of the Mayor and The City Attorney.

    • I used to work for a delivery company and I had a dropoff at a business on East 7th St usually after 630 at night. The guy used to open the warehouse door holding an aluminum bat. This problem is only going to get worse. Most of those people living on Skid Row should be committed for life to a state mental institution. They need to close those missions and move the homeless out of downtown LA to somewhere like the 105 corridor between the 110 and the 710 Freeways.

  10. I’m surprised to hear these reactions from my fellow neighbors. When I was on Nextdoor, you would get shamed for even suggesting trying to get homeless people out of Echo Park. After all, they’re our “neighbors”. They have a right to be on the streets.

    • Nobody will feel your pontificating shame, the “neighbors” you speak about could care less about the community as a whole with the trash strewn encampments with zero regard for health, environment, or the state of the “neighborhood” , I know of many of the transients who have been mainstays in the neighborhood and i can tell you without equivocation most of them would steal your property for a fix in a heartbeat.
      Just because people do not follow the uber allas leftist position of a lawless society based on trusting people to be good doesn’t make them shameful people. This sort of arrogance has given us the president we have right now. The egotistical self appointed justice warriors belittle those with different viewpoints and that is tantamount to fascism.
      People are tired of the increasing lawlessness on the streets drugs, prostitution, abuse, pollution, stressing the ability of police by making them psychologist rather than stewards of the law. I doubt many of you have seen someone nodding out while the vein they just tapped is squirting blood out onto the sidewalk you walk on.
      Or lets talk about our “neighbors” who put spent needles into trees or into tall grass areas where kids could easily prick themselves. How about our loving neighbors who steal bikes only to hoard them at their camp until they can sell it to another junkie who works for street gang. Maybe we should hand out “good neighbor gold star badges” to the lovely transients who drink all day and throw there spent bottle on the road ways and sidewalks. Heck , I’d even go so far as having a homeless encampment design competition categories would include Smelliest Tent, Largest Trash Pile,or Biggest Hoarder? Absurdist humor, ridiculous notion but this is the city you apparently wish to have; i hate to break it to you but that is not a sustainable urban model. Capitulation to “neighbors” whose sloth , drug and alcohol, abuse goes unchecked without enforcement will never eradicate the problem.

      • Just to be clear, I was being sarcastic. I never understood the notion of transients as “neighbors”.

        • Yikes, that was convincing:P thats the language the “limousine liberals” love to use. (people who don’t live or have place of businesses near these horror shows)

    • Voice of Sanity

      @ Natalie – I also didn’t realize you were being sarcastic. Thanks for the clarification.

      To be clear, I believe many homeless people deserve our charity and our support. But many also do not. However, when our politicians – afraid of challenges from the ACLU and social justice groups – call all homeless people ‘victims’ then nothing will change. The criminals, deadbeats, predators and thieves operating within the camps only exploit this designation. It’s no coincidence that homelessness has exploded under Garcetti. He’s failed utterly to both rein in housing costs and articulate a moral vision for Angelenos who might actually want to help.

      For me, the turning point came when a homeless individual in my neighborhood verbally harassed a close female friend of mine, calling her ‘good looking enough to rape.’

      Angelenos can see with our own eyes what’s going on. When our experiences on the street show us one thing and the politicians say something completely different the resulting cognitive dissonance only produces a collective inertia. No one can do anything that will move the needle on this problem because no one can approach the situation truthfully. With zero leadership from city hall, LA homelessness will only get worse.

  11. workherelivehere

    It’s sad that most of LA has been bought up by wealthy foreign nationals who don’t even live here full time. It’s driving up the cost of housing for all the people who work and live here, and support the economy day to day. People are barely making it. I have a good job, but still worry every day that I’ll never afford a house here, and will eventually be priced out of the city entirely. You have to make $75k+ to rent a 1 bedroom apt and sustain any kind of healthy life. Unfortunately, most people who work for a living barely make that. The homeless situation will only grow worse, and it won’t be drunks and addicts, just people who can’t afford proper shelter. Instead of waging war on the homeless and immigrants, we should be fighting to bring down the cost of living for the people who work hard and make this their home. Keeping foreign investors out is the first step to reducing the cost for housing.

  12. there is a hell–and i’m part jewish. stop your $ whoring, whiners. give althea a call and fix the problem. la chaim.

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