But calling in the Cavalry to address homelessness simply does not work. Being homeless is not a crime. Any action that might criminalize a person’s state of homelessness simply attracts a civil lawsuit that essentially shuts down a community’s ability to actually help those who need housing, and prevents a community from dealing with those on the streets who are actually breaking real laws.
Tag Archives: los angeles
So our experienced outreach workers compassionately, patiently, tenderly, work with these people, day after day, in the search for housing.
I see this new homeless plan as a hopeful approach for dealing with an entrenched, decades-old dilemma. Changing the system means changing people’s lives.
After 20 years, the work of ending homelessness is much more difficult. The people we help are much more chronically homeless than before. Our supporters are more jaded. Our community is less compassionate for people who have been on their streets for decades.
I wonder how the 650,000 people in New York and New Jersey who lost their homes during Hurricane Sandy would have responded if government officials had told them to wait a half a year, while they figure out a plan to help them?
But here in Los Angeles, where 44,000 of our neighbors have lost homes and live on our streets, the political power of these people we call “homeless” is so weak that it is okay for our community to put on hold any idea of a “state of emergency.”
What does it say when the United States—which has enough funds to build a house for every single person in the country, never mind every person who is homeless in New York City and Los Angeles—allows its citizens to languish on the streets?
Back home in Los Angeles, where homelessness has increased by 12 percent, the sprawling tent cities of America’s homeless remind me of the desperate refugees half a world away. Exhausted, sick, and somber people residing in tents on sidewalks, many of whom have given up hoping to escape the streets.
But then the parties started. Out came the drugs. Cars pulled up and Harry’s new neighbors sidled up alongside them, negotiating with the drivers. His street had become a swap meet for illegal substances.
As for Los Angeles, our city has not lacked in creative, hard working efforts to house its homeless population. In fact, don’t let these homeless numbers fool you. We should be commended for permanently housing so many people.
In a city filled with hundreds of thousands of millionaires, does it really matter that instead of 54,000, we have 36,000 people squandering on our streets like animals?