A federal judge has ordered housing for 7,000 homeless LA residents this week. The housing is specifically targeted for those living within 500ft of freeways, in order to clear up sidewalks and reduce public health risks.
According to Fox, “the city will provide 6,000 beds to the homeless within ten months and another 700 over 18 months. The county will spend $300 million over five years to fund much-needed services for those being housed.” Priority for housing is given to homeless residents over the age of 65, who are at a higher risk for the COVID-19 virus. As the LA homeless crisis continues to worsen, homeless advocates are cautiously optimistic that the injunction will improve the situation for LA’s 50,000 homeless.
“This is a significant step forward. But it’s not clear what it’s going to look like, where all these beds are going to end up,” said Daniel Conway of the LA Alliance for Human Rights. The alliance prompted the lawsuit against LA area officials, accusing them of neglecting the homeless problem. Solutions officials are looking at include large tents, hotels, and tiny houses.
Although housing is only one facet of the massive homeless issue in California and the greater LA area, the court order to make more housing available is a good thing to see. For those who can live on their own, the tiny house options should be a significant consideration. Recently in Kansas City, a community of small houses was built to house homeless veterans. In Newport Beach, California, city councilman Marshall “Duffy” Duffield, inventor of the Duffy boat, has now started production on Safehuts, which are simple sheds intended to house the homeless. With new innovative ways to accommodate those in need are coming to fruition, Los Angeles should have a good place to start.
Housing orders as a result of lawsuits should certainly not be the be-all-end-all for LA, and officials will hopefully not get complacent. While housing is a positive step, the root cause of the homeless crisis is, without a doubt, mental illness and drug abuse. Without directly addressing these problems, the issue will never be fully resolved.
This crisis began as a result of poor policymaking and neglect by the California and LA governments. Officials have been aware of the growing problem for years, but have not bothered to do anything about it. Thankfully the court injunction is forcing a change to be made in terms of housing, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. The mistreatment of LA’s homeless has gone on for too long, and solutions are urgently needed. The only way forward is to limit government involvement, which created the issue, and utilize public-private partnerships with groups like LA Alliance for Human Rights, which is focused on the complicated nature of this crisis.
New housing is a great start, but this fight is far from over.