The homeless people who live beside the LA river – in pictures

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Recently Oliver Wainwright reported on plans to revitalise Los Angeles’s concrete-lined waterway. But what of the many homeless people who rely on a river that can turn deadly in a winter storm? Portraits by David McNew Los Angeles river from the air

Fernando Lopez bathes and does laundry in the Los Angeles river

Fernando Lopez bathes and does his laundry in the Los Angeles river. An affordable housing crisis and rapidly growing homeless population has prompted LA’s city council to declare a shelter crisis to help homeless residents

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A train crosses the Los Angeles river

A train crosses the LA river. Winter storms can create dangerous conditions for the homeless here

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 Lopez dresses after bathing in the river.

Lopez dresses after bathing in the river, a 51-mile cement gutter best known for providing a post-apocalyptic backdrop to many Hollywood movies

 

Lopez tidies his street-side encampment, which is protected from minor storms by an overpass.

Lopez tidies his street-side encampment, which is protected from minor storms by an overpass

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A city worker cleans up trash left by a group of homeless people in the concreted channel of the Arroyo Seco creek

A city worker cleans up trash left by a group of homeless people in the concreted channel of the Arroyo Seco creek, part of the LA river ...

 

... and removes a mattress left behind by the group

Maria Romero sits near her encampment inside a bridge that spans the concreted channel of the Arroyo Seco creek

Maria Romero sits near her encampment inside a bridge that spans the concreted channel of the Arroyo Seco creek

Homeless encampments line the banks above the concreted channel of the Arroyo Seco Creek

Homeless encampments line the banks above the concreted channel of the Arroyo Seco creek

Rocky removes a supermarket trolley as he helps clean up a nearby encampment

Rocky removes a supermarket trolley as he helps clean up a nearby encampment

Rocky discovers a box of brand new, formal white dresses as he cleans up an encampment of homeless friends facing imminent eviction.

Rocky discovers a box of brand new, formal white dresses as he cleans up an encampment of homeless friends facing imminent eviction

Fernando Lopez carries his possessions along the LA river.

Fernando Lopez carries his possessions along the LA river

Learn more at theguardian.com