By Raymond Nava
The Los Angeles City Council is right to put its foot down when tackling the homeless crisis.
While it is noble to address the issue of homelessness in the most humane way possible, it is time for politicians to take more drastic measures to clean up the streets.
The needs of the public have to be addressed as well as common sense safety.
The homeless problem in LA has been getting worse over the years, and it has become more prevalent with homeless individuals appearing in places where they haven’t in the past.
I’ve seen this first hand in places where I grew up.
The Public Art “Gateway to Los Angeles,” a bridge above the 101 freeway in downtown Los Angeles, has become a homeless tent camp.
However, this was not the case in the past. As recently as December 2014, the bridge was completely clean according to the street view in Google Maps.
The first homeless tents started popping up in January 2017. Some tents would clear and then more would pop up. It was a back and forth struggle.
However, by 2021, many tents have set up camp here.
I go to a McDonald’s restaurant every Friday close to the University of California Medical Center. I have been to it many times over the years.
Recently, there has been a homeless individual who sleeps outside near the drive-thru area.
While this is not as big of an example as the tent encampment, it always concerns me whenever I go late at night to the restaurant.
Over the summer, the city council passed even stricter bans on encampments in certain public areas.
This is the right move, as we cannot allow these encampments in places the public can visit.
Councilman Joe Buscaino has also called for a ban on individuals from camping or sleeping in public if they have turned down shelter or emergency housing offers.
This is something that should be the current policy.
Some may call it harsh, but if individuals turn down help when it’s offered, then they should not be allowed to camp out in public places that, in turn, can disrupt other members of the public.
An LA Times article published in early November reported that some homeless individuals have turned down offers of congregate shelter.
The article reported that these homeless individuals said they would prefer to live on the streets than share a shelter room with someone.
While they also said this was due to them finding congregate shelters dangerous, they also said it was partly because they found it “demeaning.”
Compassion should be the goal for society. But while the situation these people are in can be dire, hearing that the reason they turned down a shelter was that they found it demeaning makes it hard to feel compassion for them.
Whether this is right or wrong is subjective. Yet when people turn down help, it’s easier to support banning their ideas of camping.