Home Business News LA develops a homeless strategy, but does it have a political will?...

LA develops a homeless strategy, but does it have a political will? According to Reuters


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© Reuters. Homeless camps are located along the cycling path, as pandemic coronavirus (COVID-19) continues, on Venice Beach in Los Angeles

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By Daniel Trotta

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Justine Gonzalez is an activist of the Democratic Party and sympathizes with the plight of homeless people. Her brother struggled with the rotation from prison to the streets of Los Angeles. She used to live in the transition house.

But even her endurance was tested by a homeless camp that rose to about 200 people at Echo Park Lake in Los Angeles. The 31-year-old moved from home to near the park after a man living there nearly came into contact with her 7-year-old daughter and then, while running, she saw the medical staff give a the body came out of the tent.

In a city where Republicans are outnumbered and the debate about what to do about homelessness is largely between moderate and progressive Democrats and others on the left, Gonzalez said some of her friends called her point of view bourgeois.

“There’s a point where it’s completely insecure. Not just me or my daughter,” Gonzalez said. “I am quite against the idea that the humane solution is to keep people from overwhelmed at the lake for long.”

The homeless have left Echo Park Lake, many accepted hotel room offers and other transition shelter options and support services during a pre-police outreach and inspection campaign. Foresters appeared in the March 25 raid there were clashes with protesters.

The combination of months of outreach and subsequent police action against a small number of people who refuse to move is being heralded by some as a strategy for the rest of the city in the face of with a seemingly intractable problem. But in the midst of protests against the use of police force, this approach has political risks.

Homelessness in Los Angeles increased before the coronavirus pandemic caused an economic slowdown that, despite being expelled, made it difficult for people across the United States to settle down.

The Los Angeles Homeless Services Agency says homelessness has increased by 13% from January 2019 to January 2020, reaching 66,000 people in the larger LA area. The investigation of the homeless this year was canceled because of the pandemic, but tent cities in places like Skid Row, Hollywood and Venice Beach appear to have grown during the health crisis.

COURT ORDER

Los Angeles officials loosened vaguely word enforcement during the pandemic, fears that distributing people to the streets would spread the virus. The city is also operating under the US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals judgment that people cannot be punished for sleeping on the streets when there is no place to protect them.

The city and county of Los Angeles are further instructed by US County Judge David Carter, who is overseeing a lawsuit brought by critics about how officials deal with homelessness. Carter on Tuesday ordered the city and county to provide enough accommodation by October for all street dwellers in downtown Skid Row, an area historically associated with homelessness. .

Mayor Eric Garcetti on Monday proposed spending nearly $ 1 billion to tackle homelessness in the city’s next budget, for more shelter.

After homelessness increased in Lake Echo Park and five people living in the park died in 2020, City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell used discretionary funds to hire outreach staff and said he did. can find accommodation for 200 people.

The Los Angeles Times reported that fewer than five people in the park refused to leave voluntarily. But when rumors spread that tents and makeshift structures were being cleaned up, protesters arrived and clashed with police. The police declared an illegal gathering and arrested 182 people.

O’Farrell’s strategic defenders say a peace operation has largely been appropriated by activists, who in turn contested official accounts and argued that the police were too aggressive.

O’Farrell said drug overdose, sexual assault and cutlery in the park require action, even if it means alienating some members and allies.

“I will never apologize for successful housing solutions for about 200 people while bringing the park back to its full, high standard,” said O’Farrell.

Across town on Venice Beach, another homeless camp stretches the length of a boardwalk, stopping just in front of the border with the city of Santa Monica.

Mike Bonin, city councilor representing Venice, said it is advisable to focus on finding housing before involving the police.

“If you’re talking about hundreds of police officers in riot suits, coming and taking over a neighborhood, arresting people and closing down a large public park in the city of Los Angeles, no, I’m not in favor. For that, ”said Bonin.

But Mark Ryavec, president of the Venice Association of Stakeholders and a member of the Venice Neighborhood Council, said, “The majority of Venetians will adopt the Echo Park model, even in disarray. its.”

The same factors that make Venice so appealing to everyone – the sun, the sandy beaches, the seaside restaurants and the tolerant Bohemian lifestyle – have also beckoned to those who aren’t interested.

“It’s a really great place to live if you’re casual,” said Jack Rivers, one of the people who lives on the street along the Venice boardwalk. “If you’re on the street, and just have really good manners, there’s no problem.”



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