L.A. Mayor Karen Bass launches Inside Safe operation in Wilmington to get Angelenos off the streets

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WILMINGTON, LOS ANGELES (KABC) — For several years, a large homeless encampment has expanded under a freeway overpass off Pacific Coast Highway and Alameda Street in Wilmington. Over time, the encampment has grown with RVs, tents, trash and even puppies.

“I hope I never have to be in this situation ever again,” said encampment resident Ronald Arthur Fesus.

On Thursday, a group of Los Angeles city workers cleared out the entire area, an operation known as Inside Safe that’s part of Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass’s ongoing efforts to remove Angelenos off the streets and into housing.

“The situation with RVs is more complex so it took us a lot longer. But we will continue to operate with the urgency because this has become a major problem in so many neighborhoods in our city,” said Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass.

“The fact that someone has decided that this is where they’re going to live for life, it’s really tough because they’re not suitable to be able to withstand daily living,” said Annetta Wells, senior director for Inside Safe.

The Inside Safe team said they were able to remove over 30 individuals from the encampment and provide them with resources and housing.

“These last two years were rough. I had a job, ended up losing my job and that’s how I ended up living here,” said encampment resident Jose Martinez.

Martinez said he’s been living in a tent underneath the overpass and described it as being cold and dirty. He said moving off the streets could be the start of a new chapter in his life.

“It definitely will help get me back on my feet, I guess. You know hopefully, just land a job and be a productive member of society,” Martinez said.

Since its launch in 2022, the Inside Safe program has had a total of 47 operations that has brought thousands of Angelenos off the streets.

“The people of Harbor City in Wilmington, I know are going to be grateful this area is going to get cleaned for the first time in years and people are getting houses. It’s overall just a good day,” Wells said.

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