A new, shocking report from the Los Angeles Times reveals that homelessness in the city has skyrocketed an incredible 75% in recent years, and despite the city’s best efforts to get it under control, without a complete slate of new policies, the problem promises to quickly outpace any relief the government can provide.
And, according to the LA Times, this is all a problem of LA’s own making: the result of six decades of bad policy from the city’s far-left City Council.
In 2010, LA had approximately 33,000 homeless people. Now, they have around 55,000 and the numbers are growing every day. Most of those homeless are “unsheltered” — they live in cars, or sleep in the rough. They are not just the United States’s single biggest group of unsheltered people; if you took Los Angeles out of the equation, according to the Times, “national homelessness would have dropped last year for the first time since the recession.”
The problem stems from a decades-long city government paralysis, with legislators struggling to meet the needs of the city’s impoverished while balancing the needs of the city’s homeowners, who pay exorbitant rents, and have no desire to see the homeless populate their neighborhoods.
“The problem has only gotten worse since Mayor Eric Garcetti took office in 2013 and a liberal Democratic supermajority emerged in 2016 on the county Board of Supervisors,” the Times says, noting that the same city government now concerned with finding housing for the thousands left on the street, was responsible for shoving homeless out of tenements and abandoned buildings that the city then turned over to developers who built high-end housing.
Now the city has voted to tax itself to provide shelter, but while Los Angeles may be able to house the current homeless population, the number of people failing to pay rent and being evicted increases every day — but the city needs the expensive housing to attract more people to pay taxes.
Interestingly enough, part of the problem also appears to be leftist infighting. While some progressives want to minister to the poor — providing bathrooms to skid row and fighting for the “right’ to the sidewalk for those without shelter — leftists in government want to contain the problem, arrest the homeless, and institutionalize who they can. Civil rights groups object to any mass roundup of homeless individuals, and city’s high-end homeowners also don’t want trailer encampments or homeless shelters scattered amid million dollar home developments.
So there’s nothing to do and nowhere to go for thousands.
Garcetti seems to be trying to pretend things are working. Last week, he made a show of washing homeless people’s feet on Skid Row, but the crux of the progressive leader’s plan involves, yet again, housing homeless in trailers — something that was voted down years ago by limousine leftists unwilling to live in the same areas as drug users and prostitutes.