Homeless encampment pulled down to make way for Super Bowl in Los Angeles

·2 min read

Los Angeles County demolished a homeless camp near the football stadium where Super Bowl LVI will be held, prompting outrage.

Local media reports that about 60 people were living in the area, which was located near the 405 Freeway and SoFi Stadium.

County officials are claiming that the removal of the camp had nothing to do with the upcoming Super Bowl, which may be true as the county frequently seeks out and demolishes camps where homeless individuals are living.

Regardless of the motives, Vice News reports that homeless advocates are frustrated by the county's move.

The People's City Council Los Angeles, which advocates for the homeless in the city, issued a statement on Twitter condemning the act.

“We know there’s no available housing in Los Angeles right now. We also know that Los Angeles is seeing record numbers for COVID outbreaks,” the group wrote. “Yet, the Super Bowl is coming here in a few weeks and we are sweeping and displacing unhoused folks with no place to go. Shameful.”

Another group, the Los Angeles Community Action Network, claimed the move was a trial run for larger clearings ahead of the 2028 Summer Olympics which will be hosted in the city.

“We’ve seen this before and it’s a dress rehearsal for the massive Olympic banishment headed to LA,” the group said in a tweet.

Other cities have cleared homeless camps before major events, which advocates claim is an inhumane attempt to cover up housing problems.

SoFi Stadium. (AP)
SoFi Stadium. (AP)

Before the Super Bowl in 2019, Atlanta announced it was going to clear homeless encampments, and Charlotte, North Carolina did the same thing ahead of the Republican National Convention.

This isn't the first time the city has faced criticism over clearing homeless encampments. Camps at Venice Beach and Echo Park sparked outrage and protests in the wake of the removals.

The most recent LA sweep was not done by county officials. The California Department of Transportation led the effort, claiming that the camp posed "a safety issue." The individuals living in the camp were given a 72-hour notice on 20 January so they could gather their belongings and leave before the clearing.

“(The department’s) responsibility is to ensure the safety of the traveling public and to protect and maintain California’s highway infrastructure,” the California Department of Transportation said in a statement. “The department is coordinating with local partners to provide outreach and support including Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA).”

A worker speaking with local outlet KTLA said that the clearing was actually motivated by the upcoming Super Bowl and not a fire hazard.