One of the problems we have been pondering as of late is something we have not been hearing enough about by our city elected officials in terms of El Nino rains and flooding affecting the homeless encampments in many of the flood control channels and riverbeds throughout the region. As we discussed this topic, we all gasped when we realized that there are many people who call the L.A River and Hansen Dam their homes. What does this mean? Potentially this means loss of life for those who may be caught off guard by flood waters.
Often some of the homeless who live in these flood prone areas live in obscurity and sometimes they are never noticed unless something happens that requires fire or police agencies to descend upon their encampments such as a wildfire or something else. As of this post it is estimated that at least 100 homeless people live in the L.A. Riverbed and some of them have made for themselves very cozy homes down there. Some have said they will not budge and not be forced to go to shelters. Well, Rangers have the powers to arrest and remove these individuals if there is a threat to life and safety.
We all know that Southern California is looking down the barrel of what is being predicted as the “Godzilla” of El Ninos. What this means is there is a strong probability of severe flooding, flash floods and swollen flood control channels during and after significant rainfall. It is predicted that Southern California will see up to 35 inches of rain during the course of this El Nino. Essentially the homeless living in flood control channels and riverbeds will quite vulnerable. Some homeless are saying they will have time to move to safety but flash floods can take a channel from 6 inches of water to a raging torrent of water speeding in excess of 45 mph.
Although the city of Los Angeles is planning on opening up the winter shelters early and remaining open until this El Nino has passed, more needs to be done to address the problem. We will admit there is no easy solution as the homeless problem in general is overwhelming but we are talking about a small number of people who are at risk here.
We hope the city of Los Angeles will take proactive steps to address the homeless living in the riverbeds and flood control channels before the rains come. If this means having them removed, then so be it.
We understand that city officials will be holding town hall meetings to address the El Nino concerns and perhaps those in attendance will be able to ask what is being done to secure the safety of the homeless in the riverbeds.
For general El Nino Preparedness information, please click here for our downloadable guide.
If you would like to attend city sponsored meetings, here is the info:
- Thursday, November 5th – 6:30pm to 8:30pm
Glassell Senior Center
3750 Verdugo Road,
Los Angeles, CA 90065
- Thursday, November 12th – 6:30pm to 8:30pm
Peck Park Recreation Area
560 N. Western Ave.,
San Pedro, CA 90732
- Thursday, December 3rd – 6:30pm to 8:30pm
Granada Hills Recreation Area
16730 Chatsworth St.,
Granada Hills, CA 91344
- Thursday, December 9th – 6:30pm to 8:30pm
Westchester Recreation Center
9100 Lincoln Blvd.,
Los Angeles, CA 90045