Los Angeles, CA

Does LA Have A Homeless Problem?

James McPherson

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Los Angeles is recognized for its diversified culture throughout the city with many different ethnic groups and cultures.

However, Los Angeles is also one of the most heavily populated cities in America with a homeless problem.

Homeless people are people living on the streets because they don’t have a home to live in.

So, how can we solve the homeless problem and make Los Angeles a better place to live for everyone?

What is the scale of the problem?

In Los Angeles, you don't have to travel far to find people sleeping on the streets.

Many sleep in makeshift shelters or locations that aren't designed for human habitation, such as the street, an abandoned building, or a transportation hub, including park or city benches.

According to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, over 55,000 people in Los Angeles County are homeless every night. Out of 4 million citizens of Los Angeles, homelessness makes up 1.38% of the population of LA.

Even though LA has a population of 4 million people, most homeless people live in neighborhoods like Skid Row, where they are either housed in makeshift tents or are unsheltered and left to fend for themselves at night.

According to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, men make up 67.2 percent of the homeless population, women 32.4 percent, and transgender people make up the remaining 0.4 percent.

However, homelessness in Los Angeles has decreased in recent years with efforts from the government to house more people, with a 75.92 increase in 2020.

What were the origins of homelessness in Los Angeles?

The national defense sector, which was centered in Los Angeles, fell by more than half due to the government cutting back on military spending. Minimum-wage jobs have taken the place of well-paid jobs.

Although Los Angeles' population has risen in the last 30 years, little new housing, particularly lower-cost rental housing, has been created.

The city's homeless problem stems from low-paying jobs and prohibitively expensive homes.

Half of the homeless claim that they are evicted because they have lost their jobs and are unable to pay their rent. Another issue that contributes to the plight of many homeless individuals is mental illness.

For many working-class families in LA, housing has become unaffordable. Most individuals pay 90% of their income on rent, according to the 2021 Census, which puts people at risk of becoming homeless.

Why is Skid Row packed with homeless people?

Homeless individuals may now be found in almost every neighborhood and commercial sector in Los Angeles.

This was not the situation a decade before when most of the homeless were concentrated in Skid Row. Skid Row is still a 1-square-kilometer, albeit it is no longer as confined as it once was.

However, no matter what neighborhood you visit in LA, you will find homeless people congregating in every neighborhood or street.

Municipal officials established Skid Row as an unofficial confinement zone in 1976, where homeless individuals may dwell and wander with access to approved services.

As a result, it has become a tourist attraction for visitors worldwide who want to witness how awful the homeless situation is.

During the 1981 recession, there were many unemployed people during the time that eventually became homeless, but it was also the start of the drugs epidemic. This caused the number of shelters to become overpopulated and cause shelters to go overcapacity as a result.

Another major issue is that homeless people on Skid Row and surrounding communities fear arrest or penalties for sleeping, sitting, or congregating in public spaces.

This has aided the growth of the homeless population in recent years, which has gotten worse over time due to recessions and a shortage of minimum wage jobs.

What has happened as a result?

Since the local government has decided to tax and fine homeless people to survive, it has caused the homeless problem to expand and get bigger and worse each year, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic making issues worse.

There are loads of various diseases going around, and the living conditions are not safe for any human to encounter.

How can the problem be solved?

Supporters of homeless individuals and labor unions agree that addressing homelessness as an economic problem rather than just a housing-supply one and employing employable adults is a smart option.

Adults who may become long-term homeless are being recognized. They are also provided with accommodation and training for employment that are available to them.

The rise in homelessness in Los Angeles has been years in development. The issue is how soon and effectively the tide can be turned.

What do you think of the homeless problem in LA and Skid Row? How do you think the problem can be fixed? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

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