How the homeless in Los Angeles spent Christmas
A dashcam video of downtown Los Angeles on Christmas day reveals a stunning sight: hundreds of tents and lean-tos on the sidewalks that serve as shelter for the homeless.
The scene is reminiscent of a third-world country.
The Daily Mail reported on the video:
The three-minute clip was originally published on Instagram by [L.A.] street artist Plastic Jesus[,] then on LiveLeak by Nick Stern in the 'Citizen Journalism' video category.
It had ... been live for [only] 10 hours when it was viewed nearly 40,000 times.
In one frame of the viral footage, a man can be seen pushing a wheelchair in the middle of the road.
Another wheelchair-bound man reclines listlessly on a street corner while women file their thin-looking children through the crowds.
Makeshift canopies – often simply sheets erected on poles – are packed in tightly beside one another in endless rows.
The rising cost of rent and housing in California is also forcing middle[-]class residents into alternative accommodation.
Workers end up living in their cars by the roadside[,] and hundreds of people – including nurses and chefs – sleep in parking lots in affluent areas like Santa Barbara.
For example, nursing assistant Marva Ericson has been sleeping in her Kia for the past three months.
She showers at her local YMCA[,] then gets dressed in her hospital scrubs for work.
The problem is so widespread that a Safe Parking Program was introduced in the area 12 years ago.
It allows clients to stay overnight in the parking lots of churches, not-for-profits[,] and government offices.
In Santa Barbara alone, there are 23 parking lots currently used for the program.
With more than 20,000 homeless people in Los Angeles, the question of what the city has been doing to create more good jobs and affordable housing needs to be asked. The answer is precious little. In fact, the homeless problem has been getting worse across the entire state, including San Francisco, where the city keeps spending more and more money only to see things get worse.
The city spent $275 million on homelessness and supportive housing in the fiscal year that ends Friday, up from $241 million the year before. Starting Saturday, that annual spending is projected to hit an eye-popping $305 million.
Public Works cleanup crews were busier than ever, picking up more than 679 tons of trash from homeless tent camps since June 1, 2016 and collecting more than 100,000 used syringes from the camps in that time span.
But, despite all the money and effort, reality on the streets hasn't improved. In many ways, homelessness in San Francisco is as bad as ever.
Just-released numbers from January's homeless count, conducted every two years as a requirement to receive federal funds, show a very slight decrease. The drop is attributed to fewer families and youths among the homeless, while the number of single adults living on the street – the most visible – has risen.
Cities are rapidly becoming the domain of the very rich and the very poor. Even those people working at decent jobs can't afford to live in the city in which they are employed. Rent control, stupid zoning policies, corruption, and fierce opposition to building any kind of housing have driven the working and middle classes out of urban areas. Along with them has gone the tax base that supports city services. So the cities keep raising taxes on businesses and the upper middle class, eventually driving them out of town, too. It is the "blue model" of Democratic governance, and there has rarely been better evidence of its failure.
Rather than create conditions where affordable housing and good jobs can exist, they sweep the homeless problem under the rug, hiding the true extent of the effect of their rancid policies
The video is an eye-opener.