Homeless Crisis in Los Angeles

That’s what the Los Angeles Times is reporting in this article, and really, due to the long social confusion over how to deal with it, homelessness has become a crisis pretty much everywhere, including Sacramento.

An excerpt from the Times article.

With an estimated 26,000 people calling Los Angeles sidewalks, cars and storm drains home, city officials on Tuesday approved an expanded campaign to help the homeless this winter by opening public buildings as temporary shelters and allowing people to sleep inside vehicles in designated lots.

The move comes as Los Angeles’ homeless population has multiplied across the region and Southern California is expected to be hit by severe rainstorms and possible flooding from El Niño, which could put unsheltered residents at increased risk.

The City Council also approved what members said were changes to soften a controversial law allowing authorities to seize individuals’ property stored on sidewalks and in alleys, though opponents said the new language continues to criminalize homelessness.

It also moved to create a special fund to tackle the problem, examine ways to expand voluntary storage facilities and push for creation of a homelessness czar.

But the council did not declare a state of emergency, as members had pledged to in September, and it acknowledged that it could be weeks or months before people living in the streets see the benefits of Tuesday’s actions.

City Councilman Mitch Englander, who represents the West Valley, warned that critics would see the votes as “a Band-Aid solution to a major problem where every organ in the body is failing.”

“They will say that, and they’re right,” he added. “We have to take measures to move forward, and these aren’t huge measures.”

For many years the council has declared a “shelter crisis” from Nov. 1 to March 31 so homeless people have a place to stay during the cold winter months. On Tuesday, the council voted 14 to 0 to ask the city attorney to draft an ordinance extending the crisis further into the spring, without setting an end date. The measure will also allow council members to identify additional buildings in their districts where homeless people could sleep.

For the thousands of homeless individuals who live in vehicles, the city will explore allowing overnight parking in public and private lots. Santa Barbara operates a similar program, which limits the number of RVs in any one lot and provides bathroom facilities for the temporary residents.

It’s unlikely that the overnight parking program will be implemented before the end of the year, Westside Councilman Mike Bonin said.

About David H Lukenbill

I am a native of Sacramento, as are my wife and daughter. I am a consultant to nonprofit organizations, and have a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Behavior and a Master of Public Administration degree, both from the University of San Francisco. We live along the American River with two cats and all the wild critters we can feed. I am the founding president of the American River Parkway Preservation Society and currently serve as the CFO and Senior Policy Director. I also volunteer as the President of The Lampstand Foundation, a nonprofit organization I founded in 2003.
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