[Ed. – A neighborhood rehabilitation and beautification project is actually being investigated by the city on the suspicion that its landscaping and mural efforts are intended to squeeze out the homeless. This is a sickness it’s not clear how you even fix. The tone of the Guardian article — condemning of the business owners, rooting for the homeless to be able to put up tent shanties against the businesses’ very walls — is unreal.]
“They put the whole sidewalk inside the fence,” said Gabe, an older black man with kind eyes and a disarming demeanor who has lived on the streets of Skid Row for about five years. He was scaling a fish over a red plastic cooler as he talked. “I felt like we were in prison on the sidewalk. It felt like we were in prison and could get out, but still in prison, you know what I mean?”
Local activists and police officers were called. Eventually, the chain-link fence was moved to free Gabe and his neighbors. It wouldn’t be the last of the fences.
As street homelessness continues to spiral upwards in Los Angeles, with just over 25,000 people living in cars, tents, and other makeshift shelters across the county, a new phenomenon is prompting frustration among the city’s homeless population: business owners fencing in portions of the sidewalk, seemingly to keep homeless people off them.