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LAX is scrambling to relocate hundreds of homeless people living in Manchester Square

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The neighborhood plays a key role in the airport’s modernization plan

A 2015 photo, looking down a street in Manchester Square.
Emily Kneeter/Creative Commons

A key part of a major plan to update LAX involves building on Manchaster Square, a former 1950s housing tract just east of the airport. But first airport officials have to help find new homes for hundreds of homeless people who flocked there, says the Los Angeles Times, and they’re running out of time.

LAX has been steadily buying properties in 20-square-block neighborhood to make space for a centralized rental car facility and a transportation hub. Overgrown and underpopulated, the neighborhood became a ghost town, attracting people living in RVs and tents

One woman who lives in a camper with her husband told the Times that there’s no other place to go. (There have been crackdowns on homeless encampments in other parts of the city, and police are starting to enforce new rules restricting where people who live in the vehicles and RVs may park.)

City and county officials have been trying to find new places for the 200 to 350 homeless people in Manchester Square to live. One year ago, they assembled a task force comprised of all types of professionals, from mental health outreach workers to “specially trained” airport police officers.

But, “with the clock running down, only six people have found permanent housing, and others say they have nowhere to go,” the Times says.

Airport officials say they believe they can relocate all of the homeless people before the airport’s transformation gets underway. The airport modernization overhaul is in environmental review now, but if approved, airport officials say it’s possible projects that affect Manchester Square could begin as soon as January.