Neighbors, officials decry camps in Big Tujunga Wash
For years, the homeless have gravitated toward the open expanse, the privacy and the quiet – not to mention the remove from the law – offered in the Big Tujunga Wash.
On the edge of the Angeles National Forest, the Sunland wash is a unique, ecologically sensitive area that floods during rains, harboring rare plant and animal species. It’s also dotted with tents, tarps, abandoned shopping carts and copious amounts of trash.
“At night, you can hear women screaming. You can hear couples fighting,” said Joe Barrett, a local resident who often hikes in the wash and encourages those camping there to enter supportive housing.
Since police last year cleared out shelters that had been built near the Foothill Boulevard and 210 Freeway bridges, some homeless camps have moved up the wash into an area referred to as “Uptown,” Barrett said. That has coincided with a shifting outreach strategy to address what some say is worsening homelessness in the northeast San Fernando Valley.
“It’s an ongoing challenge for us,” said Cindy Cleghorn, a member of the Sunland- Tujunga Neighborhood Council. “We have people who are in the wash who we cannot get out of the wash because of their drug addiction or mental status, and they just do not want to leave. … It’s a hiding place.”
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UPDATE; KABC 7 has a report HERE.