This LINK, this LINK, and this LINK, is to an excellent three part series on homelessness in Los Angeles by columnist Bill Boyarsky (formerly of the Los Angeles Times).
An excerpt: “There are 25,686 homeless in the city of Los Angeles, the largest city in Los Angeles County, where the homeless number 44,359, according to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority. There is definitely a racial component. African-Americans are the hardest-hit, composing 47 percent of the homeless population, although only about 9 percent of Los Angeles residents are black.
Mollie Lowery, a consultant at Housing Works—which finds housing and care for the homeless—has worked with the homeless on Skid Row for decades. She told me that Los Angeles is “a city of abundance, but the abundance is not shared.” Steve Clare, the executive director of Venice Community Housing Corp., which also helps people find housing, shared a similar view. “Los Angeles is known as the meanest big city in America,” he said.”
“More than a third of Los Angeles’ homeless are mentally ill; a quarter are addicts; and 21 percent are victims of domestic violence. Many suffer from a combination of these and many other afflictions and traumas.
‘People live in public spaces because they have no alternatives,’ John Maceri, who leads Lamp Community—an organization that finds housing for the homeless—told me. ‘We keep perpetuating the same cycle over and over again. We have to stop punishing people for being poor and helpless.’
He added: ‘The vast majority … are just trying to survive. Then to arrest them for that and to punish them seems very cruel.'”