Homelessness in Los Angeles: Down For the Count?

By | May 13, 2015

Homelessness-Soars-in-L.A.-Officials-Pledge-to-House-Everybody-by-2016The recent homeless count in Los Angeles revealed that homelessness increased by 16 percent from 2013 to the present; the unsheltered homeless population has nearly tripled. For those of us who have noticed an increasing number of tents propped up along our sidewalks, and too many recreational vehicles parked along our streets, we are not surprised.

With so many homelessness initiatives in the past dozen years, should we not be surprised?

For the last 20 years, I have led a homeless and housing organization based in Los Angeles called PATH. During this period, I have worked with four Los Angeles city mayors, participated in seven Point-in-Time (PIT) homeless counts, and seen numerous homeless initiatives come and go in the city and the county.

In 2003, Los Angeles put together a Blue Ribbon Panel, which I was part of, to create a “ten-year plan to end chronic homelessness”. The plan proposed creating 50,000 housing units at a cost of $12 billion. Clearly, our political leaders did not have the appetite to endow such a plan. In the end, this initiative stayed on some bureaucrat’s bookshelf. Read More »

If I Am Homeless…How Old Do I Look?

By | May 4, 2015 | Comments Off

Living on the streets, for years at a time, can rapidly increase one’s age—turning any young adult into someone appearing middle-aged or elderly.

Are We Camouflaging Homelessness by Giving Tents?

By | Apr 27, 2015 | Comments Off

Perhaps, if we give away tents to everyone on the streets, we could hide them. We would just see their shadows. It is hard to put a face on a shadow. Shadows are easier to stereotype. They are easier to forget after we drive by them. Shadows sleeping in a pup tent are easier to label as lazy, drunks, or criminals.

By | Apr 20, 2015
Vancouver bench/shelter A “homeless-looking” man sleeping on a bus bench is certainly one of the many stereotypical images of homelessness in this country.
By | Apr 15, 2015
“A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.
By | Mar 30, 2015
A recent study in England concluded that images, which stereotype homelessness, are far more effective in raising charity funds than depictions of actual people who are homeless.
By | Mar 23, 2015
For the past five years, the federal government has been implementing a courageous and visionary initiative to end homelessness for this country’s veterans, chronically homeless individuals, and families.
By | Mar 2, 2015
This piece is not about supporting homeless shelter programs over permanent supportive housing.