Dear Editor – Culver City Sweeps Away the Homeless

Dear Editor,

On October 24, Culver City forcibly displaced the Culver City residents living in an encampment on the south side of Venice Blvd under the 405. The city sent those residents across the street to the City of Los Angeles to board a bus to shelters elsewhere in LA, and all their tents and possessions were removed, set to be trashed for good in January.

Culver City waited until its Project Homekey and safe camping sites were open before starting sweeps like this, and then… they didn’t offer anyone that was displaced on Oct. 24 a spot in Project Homekey or safe camping. When they say “everyone was offered housing,” that’s a lie. Shelters aren’t housing.

It’s all for show. It’s all a farce. Culver City declared a homelessness emergency, took precious staff time to draft and pass an anti-camping ordinance (even though the city already had one on the books), and decided that the already in-progress Project Homekey and safe camping programs are all the housing we can afford —- most of our 300+ unhoused residents can just be forced out of town to be dealt with elsewhere.

Of course, the city has money to pay for a new PR hire to snap a smiling photo of Mayor Albert Vera helping to displace poor people and issue a press release spinning this sweep as “care and compassion.”

Meanwhile, the most vulnerable Culver City residents are bearing the brunt of the harm. Study after study shows that “encampment abatement” actions like this (1) don’t reduce the number of people living on the streets, and (2) disconnect folks from services and healthcare, causing more overdoses and setting folks back in efforts to get placed in real housing.

If sweeps don’t help the people on the streets, then what’s the point? Culver City’s Oct. 24 sweep was an act of immense cruelty.

Stephen Jones

The Actors' Gang