California Today: Los Angeles’s New Plan to House the Homeless

Monday: Mayor Eric Garcetti’s proposed temporary shelters, antiwar protests in San Francisco, and Beyoncé makes history at Coachella.

Comments: 19

  1. I live in the only Sacramento district where a public shelter for the homeless exists. It was opened last December. The Los Angeles districts that forfeit the $1 million allocation will do it knowing the homeless will migrate to those districts that open the shelters. Even if capacity doesn't exist in the few shelters that districts accept homeless people come in droves with the hope they will get a place. Unless there is a mandate for widely dispersed shelters this plan will simply be another example of an attempt to move the problem around.

    I also think the effort is seriously underfunded if Sacramento's experience is indicative of true costs. Our shelter is costing $400,000 each month to operate and after 4 months has, according to the mayor, moved 70 people into permanent housing. That is almost $23,000 per success.

    I don't know the solution but, despite optimistic statements by city officials, the city of Sacramento doesn't either.

  2. I agree with you and also in Sacramento. I am glad there has been success. That is truly wonderful. But I question the high costs and especially question putting the burden of all the added traffic of homeless residents (who cannot ALL get spots in the shelter so end up on the streets in the vicinity of the shelter) on a single Sacramento neighborhood. It's time other neighborhoods did their fair share of carrying this load of helping our homeless neighbors. I'm looking at you, East Sac and Land Park NIMBYs.

  3. Homelessness is a national emergency, and should not be viewed merely as one city's own issue. This seems particularly clear when we see that California is bearing most of the burden of the increase in homelessness, with California holding 25% of the number of total homeless in the entire USA. Other states need to pitch in to help with this problem. It's quite possible that indigents are migrating to California from other parts of the nation. In my area I have noticed about 40 dilapidated vans and RVs that people are living in on city streets, bearing out of state license plates. So since this is a national issue, it seems clear to me that funds should be forthcoming from federal and state governments to help shelter people.

    Providing adequate shelter for all those in need is the highest priority. In terms of finding adequate housing for them, they should be directed to places where they can afford to live, which likely isn't on coastal California where the cost of housing has increased so much.

  4. It makes sense that the good weather and more liberal policy regarding homeless would encourage more homeless to move to California. For students who attend California colleges to receive in-state tuition, they need to prove residency, however, Homeless people would have a difficult time with such proof.

    It also seems that homeless projects needs to be big to have efficiencies of scale, however, few cities want such distinctions.

  5. California is getting the shaft from the Republicans in Washington and the red states in general. The Golden State sends money to the feds which then spends it in the red states. Meanwhile, California, because of its mild climate and relatively generous social policies becomes a magnet for the indigent.

    The first step in addressing homelessness it to defeat the Trumpublicans at all levels. Then initiate programs with significant federal funding tethered to the estimated homeless populations. If the homeless migrate to California, that state gets the bulk of the federal resources to deal with the problem.

    Fair is fair.

  6. I can't see spending money to build structures. In every large city there are plenty of unused empty,or abandoned buildings. Get together with these building owners and form a partnership . They get money for their unused properties ,and cities can save money.

  7. There is a problem with the emergency declaration related to building codes.

    The Mayor can declare a local emergency but the building code is a state regulation, enforced by local jurisdiction, not a local regulation. Furthermore the provisions dealing with local modifications of the building code do not provide for changes needed because of homeless problem.

  8. I've worked with Outreach Services in Los Angeles. This plan ignores two large problem groups who refuse to go to the shelters, drugs addicts and the mentally ill. They will only go where they can continue their current behavior. The Orange County proposal of a large scale camp was a good idea, but in the wrong place -- the center of a city. Nearby residents were understandably alarmed.

    This camp model needs to be set up somewhere on the outskirts of our urban sprawl, with food, basic sanitation and trash removal.

    Los Angeles is truly overrun with homeless people and everyone wants them out of their neighborhood -- but until these people have SOMEWHERE TO GO, they're not going anywhere.

  9. They can't get their drugs on the outskirts. If they are staying there to 'continue their behavior' that has to include access to their suppliers.

  10. Canada places its indigent among regular housing and apartments. Los Angeles could do the same. The entire country could/should do the same. This isn't rocket science or even an emergency. And it's just getting worse every day.

  11. The problem starts with the idea of “temporary housing”. Permanent housing and shelter are basic human rights.

  12. Maybe it's time to expand the definition of what "home" is, hence ending homelessness as we now know it. So long as "home" is narrowly defined as a cottage with a white picket fence the problem will never be solved. This incessant lust for building new buildings in the quest to end homelessness is nothing more than a building contractor's dream come true and doesn't do a thing to address the root cause.

  13. What would you suggest? You have to build something. Bare bones studio apartments stacked 50 high... sure, if the tenants can afford enough to maintain the building. Tiny houses, sure, in a place with plenty of wide open space. Permanent owner-occupied RV sites would help too. Any inexpensive options will help.

  14. There are two components to homelessness: dysfunction and the price of housing. Some people are homeless because they have mental problems and/or addictions that keep them from living normally enough to take care of themselves. Others are homeless because they simply cannot afford to house themselves.

    These both need to be treated differently if you want an effective outcome. The dysfunctional types need treatment, and in extreme cases, institutionalization. The people who simply cannot afford housing need inexpensive housing.

    Here's the hard part: to help the functional homeless, you need to lower the price of housing. You cannot do it by fiat, you have to override the decisions of zoning boards and allow people to live in tiny houses, or to make more basic studio apartments, and you need to keep doing it until anyone who has a job can afford to rent.

    Any action that lowers the cost of housing will hurt landlords, property speculators, and banks. There is no way to sugarcoat this pill; someone's ox is going to get gored, and as a society we need to take an honest look at who's interests we put first.

    Subsidized housing is a topical treatment for a systemic problem. It helps some people, but those tents and communities will still be there until housing becomes less expensive.

  15. Remember that lowering the cost of housing will also impact the many individuals that own their own homes. In many cases the value of their house is part of their retirement safety net. There are likely no easy solutions.

  16. Once California stops with the entitlements and the giveaways, you'll have less homeless people flocking to your state, until then, you'll be viewed as a Haven, and therefore, have to deal with the consequences.

    Other states are not going to simply "pitch in" because California is overrun with homelessness, we love you California, but get your act together.

  17. California is a haven because of the weather. It's much better to be homeless here than in a place that gets 3 feet of snow in the winter, and is hot enough that the pavement grows soft in July. That's also the reason why housing is so expensive. Half of the country would move here if it was easy. There's a Devil to catch the hindmost, and you can see it in the picture. At least they won't freeze solid like they would if they lived in the Midwest or the East Coast. Of course, if they lived in those places, many of them could afford housing.

  18. San Francisco has homeless sleeping in tents and open doorways throughout the city too. It's not just a few people in a few areas. Homelessness has become an epidemic that we can cure. We can no longer claim that America has a participatory economy. If we do not changed that we will continue to see homelessness grow and kill. Our current economy has become a top down bailout machine for the rich and it's built to sweep up as much money as possible and offshore it. It's draining our state and local economies and the federal government has given away $1.5 trillion dollars to the very rich so we will not have one dime to help those who need help the most. Until we're honest that we've weaponized our economy millions of Americans will suffer and bodies will keep stacking up on streets across this great land. Let us not forget that 1 in 6 children goes to sleep hungry every night. We can stop that if we want to - do you? I mean it - please ask yourself this simple question and vote this November.

  19. Beyonces performance will be forgotten by tomorrow.