When the last homeless count was conducted, the City of Lynwood stood out as one of the few cities that saw a DECREASE in its homeless population – a staggering 24 percent. This as Los Angeles County saw a 12 percent increase in its homeless population and southeast cities reported a wide range of increases from two percent in Long Beach to 51 percent in Lawndale.
The decrease in Lynwood’s homeless population is tied directly to the fact that the City increased its homeless services. It added a new case service manager, who works to place homeless individuals and families in Crisis Housing Shelters and refers them to the County Integrated Care case management system.
Besides the work with the homeless, the City continues to use a wide range of tactics to monitor the homeless issue including:
With the work the City has done through its public safety, public welfare and public works departments, it can’t overcome one big obstacle – CalTrans.
Lynwood is in the unique position of having two freeways cross through the City. Those freeways and adjacent property are under the control of CalTrans and are virtually untouchable to the City. Unfortunately, these are also the areas where the homeless gather.
“We are restricted from reaching out to the homeless or cleaning up their encampments on CalTrans property and unfortunately, it’s hard for the public to know where Lynwood ends and CalTrans starts,” said Jose Ometeotl, Lynwood City Manager. “Our residents, our business owners, our visitors are affected every day by those living on CalTrans property and there isn’t a thing we can do about it.”
As City leaders continue to provide services to help the homeless, they also are trying to work with CalTrans to make sure the areas around their property are safe for Lynwood residents.
In the meantime, you can report homeless encampments to CalTrans by visiting this website: https://csr.dot.ca.gov/index.php/Msrsubmit