Beverly Hills is known as the mainland of the Hollywood elite, but as homelessness in Los Angeles has increased, so have encampments.
The median home price in Beverly Hills is about $3.5 million, but those luxury homes now sit next to a cluster of tents prominently along residential streets, highways and parks.
Photos taken on Tuesday show tarpaulins, shopping carts, mattresses and loose bedding next to busy intersections and on the sidewalks of the affluent suburb.
The scenes were captured on San Vicente Blvd, near the luxury shopping mall Beverly Center, where celebrities like Victoria Beckham, Paris Hilton and Hailey Bieber all like to shop.
Homeless camps are becoming more common in Beverly Hills, one of LA’s most affluent neighborhoods
The median home price in Beverly Hills is about $3.5 million, but luxury homes are now juxtaposed settlements of tents. Pictured is a Beverly Hills homeless camp on April 11, 2023
Tents are pictured scattered on the sidewalk in Beverly Hills, along with bicycles, wheelchairs and loose bedding
An estimated 40,000 people are homeless in the city of Los Angeles, which has a population of nearly 4 million.
The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority estimated that about 70,000 people will be homeless in Los Angeles County by 2022, a four percent increase since 2020.
In January, the affluent Sherman Oaks neighborhood, just north of Beverly Hills, made national headlines after three people were killed in the street in a week.
There are no certain statistics on homelessness in Beverly Hills, but in a report seen by the local newspaper Beverly Hills Couriercity manager Nancy Hunt-Coffey wrote that it “appears to be increasing.”
Last year, a number of local residents testified to city council about their experiences of homelessness as part of a discussion to address the escalating problem.
“Many of my peers are considering moving because they think the situation is hopeless,” says Amy Conroy, who says she’s afraid to let her kids play outside.
Recently elected Los Angeles mayor Karen Bass campaigned over claims she would address Los Angeles’ growing homeless crisis.
She tweeted about the Sherman Oaks deaths at the time, writing, “This is exactly why I declared a state of emergency. Facing the homelessness crisis successfully is a matter of life or death.”
The leading cause of death among homeless people in Los Angeles is drug overdose, other leading causes of death include homicide and suicide.
According to Beverly Hills city manager Nancy Hunt-Coffey, the number of homeless people in the area is on the rise
Tents and tarps have been set up at the center of the intersection in Beverly Hills by some of LA’s homeless population
Between 2016 and 2021, the number of fentanyl overdose deaths in Los Angeles County increased more than tenfold, between 2019 and 2020 the number increased by 149 percent from 462 to 1,149, and in 2021 by 31 percent to 1,504.
Speaking about the homeless deaths in Sherman Oaks, Ken Craft of advocacy group Hope of the Valley told ABC Los Angeles: “Unfortunately, what we do see is an increase in fentanyl on our streets, which has led to more overdoses.”
Bass told a conference in January that affluent residents of her city don’t care about homeless people and just want to see them leave or get arrested.
She said she plans to house more than 17,000 homeless people in her first year through a mix of temporary and permanent facilities.
Similarly, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced last month that the state hopes to reduce homelessness by 15 percent in just two years and has committed to providing 500 small town homes to help achieve that.
“In California, we are using every tool in our toolbox — including the largest-ever deployment of small homes in the state — to move people from encampments to housing,” Newsom said.
“The homelessness crisis will never be solved without first solving the housing crisis – the two issues are inextricably linked.”
A homeless person sleeps on a patch of grass in a park on the corner of Santa Monica Blvd. and crescent Dr.
A homeless person sits on a public bench in Beverly Hills on April 11, 2023
Some residents of wealthy Beverly Hills told the city council they were considering leaving because they didn’t feel safe letting their children play outside.
Los Angeles City Councilman Joe Buscaino has complained that children in his city have to step “over needles” and “human waste” on their way to school because of people crashing into residential areas.
“No kid in America should be afraid to walk to school, and what we found in Los Angeles is that kids are afraid to walk to school,” the Democrat said in a televised interview late last year.
“They tell their parents to step over needles and human waste and deal with people who unfortunately suffer from psychotic behavior – right next to their playground.”
Initiatives have been launched to deal with the crisis, including CICRLE, operating in West Hollywood, which aims to move people who are homeless off the streets and into housing.