NEW YORKER - HOMELESS IN LOS ANGELES by Dana Goodyear
EXCERPTS: To the hardcore long-term unhoused, a flotilla of recruits has been added—some of them presumably locals forced from their dwellings by rising rents, others itinerant young “travellers.” You see the latter in the evening, moving in groups, with skateboards, dreads, and bedrolls, a pit bull or two among them, heading toward the setting sun and the “sandominiums” that spring up on the beachfront after dark. ... According to one social worker who does field work among the homeless in West Los Angeles, after the announcement people started turning up from as far away as Las Vegas: their cities had bought them one-way bus tickets to L.A. The result is a huge, often acutely vulnerable population in the path of a storm system already proving itself 'brash' nasty, cold, and fierce. ...Shelters, necessary though they still are, are like spare change: they represent panhandling at the level of policy. The only fix is to intensify the effort to build housing for the homeless and the poor. Opening extra shelters when it rains, with longer hours, is the emergency version of a plan that already doesn’t work. It’s better than nothing—unless it means that nothing changes when the rain stops. In the long term, the homeless don’t need another place to overnight, they need accommodation in the more expansive sense of the word.
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