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Organizer hopes to craft joint approach to LA River homeless issue at Tuesday town hall

A major clean up of the Arroyo Seco riverbed took place near South Pasadena in August 2014.
A major clean up of the Arroyo Seco riverbed took place near South Pasadena in August 2014.
Pepe Garcia/ L.A. Bureau of Sanitation

Neighborhood groups, police and homeless service providers will meet Tuesday night to discuss what can be done about the growing number of homeless living along the Arroyo Seco corridor in northeast Los Angeles. 

Roy Payan, Montecito Heights Improvement Association President and a member of the Arroyo Seco Neighborhood Council, helped pull Tuesday night's town hall together.

He said the buildup of encampments in and around the L.A. River has been an issue for years and adds that his constituents are getting increasingly frustrated at the lack of action. But, he adds, the issue can't be solved by confiscating homeless people's property or trying to push them out of the area. 

"They have roots, they have families" in the area, Payan said. "They have other ties to the community so they want to stay here." 

The issue has been exacerbated by the fact that the corridor falls between two council districts and along the jurisdiction of two police departments, he said. Past clean up efforts have shifted the problem momentarily without addressing the root issue.

"We end up closing their encampments, and they'll bounce from one side of the river to the other," Payan said. "They know that one side of the district belongs to Councilman Cedillo; the other side belongs to Councilman Huizar. One side of the river is patrolled by LAPD Hollenbeck Division; the opposite side is patrolled by LAPD Northeast Division."  

He said he hopes to get input from tonight's attendees, and plans to call for a joint approach that would involve outreach from service providers, police and individual neighbors. 

Tonight's town hall is set to take place at 7 p.m. inside Mount Washington's Ramona Hall Community Center. Follow KPCC's Eric Zassenhaus on Twitter for updates.