Public Health Over Homeless Encampments, L.A. County Supervisor Says

Leaders in L.A. County have asked the health department to figure out how to handle the risk of disease around homeless encampments. Supervisor Kathryn Barger says she wants to consider clearing out some homeless encampments and is willing to go to court to fight for public health.

"I believe that we have an obligation to our communities to ensure public health first and foremost."

Barger says the risk of disease is too high to allow this squalor to pile up. "At what point do we have to say the rights of the people trump what's going on in our streets right now as it relates to these encampments."

She say the encampments may have to be cleared. People can't play in the parks because they're afraid for their children. People have to cross the street because they can't walk down a sidewalk because of all the tents that are up and there's feces on the ground."

The county has asked the health department for a disease prevention plan.

"If that means going in and cleaning up and taking on these encampments and really addressing the filth that is taking place down there then that's what I'm hoping the public health department will come back with."

Kathryn Barger

Her request to the Health Department is in response to concerns of typhoid fever on Skid Row. At least six LAPD officers who work there have symptoms of the illness. "I have people come up to me time and time again and say, 'I want to be compassionate, I want to be understanding, but what about my rights?'"

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