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Family’s Frustration Grows Over Homeless Encampment Behind Pacoima Home

A Pacoima family’s frustration has grown over the years as items from a homeless encampment have piled up behind the home of 88-year-old grandmother Stella Ponce. 

Bikes, clothes, furniture, trash and more are scattered on a 118 Freeway embankment  behind the home she has owned for more than five decades. Some of the items have piled up against her fence.

The encampment has been there since 2017. Family members said they’ve tried to contact authorities about cleaning up the items, but the pile just keeps growing. 

“This place is building up in the back,” said Stella Ponce. “It’s getting bigger and bigger. They bring in more trash.”

Ponce’s grandchildren tired to clear some items, but said that drew the ire of people living at the encampment. 

Ponce has owned the home for 53 years. She said she no longer feels safe there. 

“My question to Caltrans is, ‘Would you allow your mother to live like this,’” said daughter Sandra Ponce-Martinez. “No, so why do you expect my mother to live like this?”

Ponce said she has contacted the city, but was told the freeway embankment is Caltrans jurisdiction. 

NBCLA has reached out to Caltrans and the city, but has yet to receive a response. 

File source

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