Los Angeles continues to struggle with a tragic homeless crisis, but it is rare that clear data is released to help people understand the gravity of the situation.
When the Echo Park homeless encampment was cleaned out and forcibly evacuated in March, Los Angeles Sanitation and Environment collected key information about how poor conditions were.
Even more disturbing, this figure included 180 pounds of feces, 544 pounds of urine and 30 pounds of “sharps & drug paraphernalia,” like needles. Among the remaining hazardous waste were 80 pounds of paint waste, 15 pounds of waste oil, 5 pounds of reactives, 125 pounds of ignitables and 45 pounds of corrosives.
⚡️ “Echo Park homeless encampment prepares for LAPD sweep”https://t.co/AdfXoGC3Zz
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) March 25, 2021
When the city decided to shut it down, they were able to provide 200 people with housing, though 182 were arrested for refusing to leave, according to KCBS-TV.
Echo Park had hundreds of homeless people residing in the area loosely resembling a commune, which served as a sobering testament to the larger issue in the region.
The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority estimated that 66,436 people were homeless in Los Angeles County as of January 2020, a 12.7 increase from the previous year.
California leads the country in homelessness. We need real solutions to help our fellow Californians in need. We need to prioritize and provide mental health support as well as drug support services for the homeless. #CAgov #RecallNewsom #MeettheBeast pic.twitter.com/wHWvi07HI7
— John Cox (@BeastJohnCox) May 10, 2021
That number is likely much higher now due to the consequences of coronavirus, but it is an incredibly difficult task to get an accurate count.
If you’re wondering why many people are frustrated with the leadership in California, this is one of the main reasons why.
The government has consistently neglected to take far-reaching and long-term action to mitigate the homeless crisis.
Take a look at Project Roomkey — a program established by the state to temporarily give people housing during the coronavirus pandemic by using lodging facilities.
Project Roomkey status as of May 3
— Project Roomkey Tracker (@RoomkeyTracker) May 4, 2021
.@Kevin_Faulconer says as Governor, he wants to outlaw homeless encampments on the streets of California.
He wants to ensure there’s enough shelter beds for those who need them.
He says this approach in San Diego reduced homelessness.
— Elex Michaelson (@Elex_Michaelson) February 9, 2021
While the California government website states that the project will serve “as a pathway to permanent housing,” eligibility is limited, and it largely serves as a Band-Aid.
Between housing insecurity and the numerous substance abuse issues plaguing the homeless population, the situation is a dark reflection on state leaders.
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