How can this kind of thing happen in America?
A new documentary is breaking down the causes and symptoms of Los Angeles’ homelessness epidemic.
The documentary “Lost Angeles: City of Homeless” produced by KTTV Los Angeles, paints a picture of homelessness and urban blight that may outstrip anything else in the developed world.
A perfect storm of rampant housing unaffordability, drug addiction and ineffective public services has established America’s second-largest city as the homeless capital of the United States.
Los Angeles’ sprawling homelessness has taken a particular toll on the city’s black community, according to Angelenos familiar with the problem.
“You know where the black community in L.A. is now?” asked Ted Hayes, a formerly homeless man and activist interviewed for the film.
“Used to be Lemiert Park. You know where it is now? Skid Row,” said Hayes, in a reference to an area known for the most severe homelessness in Los Angeles.
The film outlines a tale of government waste, ineffective programs and bureaucracy hamstringing solutions to the problem.
County and state programs to build affordable housing have consistently delivered lackluster results, all while becoming increasingly expensive to taxpayers.
Los Angeles City Controller Ron Galperin admits the city’s programs have failed to deliver results on the problem.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva, a conservative-leaning Democrat, has organized area clean-ups in blighted neighborhoods he says are lining up Los Angeles’ homeless population with the services they need.
Villaneuva cited blight that was devastating Venice Beach as justification for removing a homeless encampment from the area.
“When we got there, it was exactly as everyone said. People acting strangely, there was a dearth of tourists.
“Most of the shops were boarded up, and there was wall-to-wall tents covering the entire strand.”
“You could not see the beach, the water, from the boardwalk. And the overwhelming smell was not salty air, but urine and human waste.”
Villaneuva’s clean-ups have been criticized by limousine liberals in the county, but he’s rejecting the claims of his critics. He says the clean-ups have connected thousands of homeless people with services they need to get off the streets.
In spite of billions of dollars in funding from the state and local government, Los Angeles’ homeless population swelled from 39,135 in 2011 to 66,436 in 2020.
Many experts also believe that the official homeless count in Los Angeles undercounts the real total in the area.
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