Archive for September 1st, 2021 O!- HOMELESS PEOPLE IN LOS ANGELES O!Los Angeles passes measure limiting homeless encampments some sidewalks, beneath overpasses and near parks. |

September 1, 2021

Los Angeles passes measure limiting homeless encampments

July 2, 2021

ABOVE PICTURE- IN this June 8, 2021, file photo, a jogger walks past a homeless encampment in the Venice Beach section of Los Angeles. Los Angeles City Council is poised to clamp down on homeless encampments, making it illegal to pitch tents on some sidewalks, beneath overpasses and near parks. The measure being considered Thursday, July 1, 2021, is billed as a humane way to get people off streets and restore access to public spaces. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles City Council passed a sweeping anti-camping measure Thursday to remove widespread homeless encampments that have become an eyesore across the city.
The measure was billed as a compassionate approach to get people off streets and restore access to public spaces in the city with nation’s second-largest homeless population, though critics said it would criminalize the problem.
“I can’t think of any reason why we would not unite in support of what the people of Los Angeles want us to do,” said Councilman Paul Krekorian, coauthor of the measure. “Restore order to our streets, while also uplifting and providing services to those in need.”
Among other limits, the ordinance that passed 13-2 would ban sitting, lying, sleeping or storing personal property that blocks sidewalks, streets and bike lanes or near driveways, fire hydrants, schools, day care centers, libraries, homeless shelters and parks.
It wouldn’t be enforced in some locations until someone has turned down an offer of shelter and the council has passed a resolution placing that space off-limits, posting signs and giving two weeks’ notice. It could be enforced immediately if a person or tent is blocking handicap access guaranteed under the Americans with Disabilities Act or placing themselves or others in danger such as blocking a loading dock.
The measure, which requires a second vote in late July, replaces a more punitive anti-camping proposal that stalled in a committee. Under the ordinance approved, police would only get involved if there’s a crime, and people who resist leaving would be fined rather than arrested.
The majority of callers during a limited public comment period spoke in support of the measure, describing homeless encounters that included assaults, break-ins and one explaining how children walking to school are forced into a busy street to avoid tents crowding sidewalks.
People who opposed the measure, including a couple who used profanity, said it lacked compassion and would criminalize a problem the city has failed to solve.
The meeting was closed to the public because of coronavirus restrictions, but a group of advocates for the homeless protested outside City Hall.
Pete White of the LA Community Action Network said the measure is loosely written to allow broad interpretation for enforcement and will make most of the city off-limits to people living on the street.
“Draconian is definitely the correct word,” he said. “It’s impossible to comply.”
White said that an ordinance that limited where people could park RVs and sleep in cars overnight left little more than 5% of streets available for parking.
California is home to more than a quarter of the nation’s homeless people, according to federal data, and it has reached a crisis point in many cities. There are deep disagreements in how to solve a problem that goes beyond economics and is often complicated by mental illness and addiction issues that require treatment and can make people resistant to accepting shelter.
The city of Los Angeles has an estimated homeless population of more than 40,000, which is second only to New York’s.
Encampments have steadily grown over several years and often sprawl entire blocks. They can include barbecues, sofas, recliner chairs and even a shower. Many are crammed with piles of belongings, scavenged junk and covered in tarps.
A federal judge directed the city of LA to offer housing to thousands of homeless people on Skid Row by this fall, though the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals put that on hold.
The appeals court has separately held that cities can’t make it a crime for homeless people to sleep on the streets when alternative shelter is not available.
The leading Republican candidates seeking to replace Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom in a recall election came to LA County this week to announce their plans to address the statewide problem.
Former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer called for more shelters, while rival businessman John Cox said people insisting on sleeping on streets should be locked up or forced into treatment.
Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, a Democrat, has proposed a “right to housing” that would require the city to provide shelter to all residents.
While the crisis is widespread across Los Angeles, a dispute about how to solve the problem has become a flashpoint on Venice Beach recently, where an encampment exploded in size during the coronavirus pandemic.
The situation has left residents weary and worried for their safety — and for the wellbeing of those in camps — after several violent incidents. A homeless man was arrested last week in the killing of another homeless man who was bludgeoned in his tent on the beach.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva, whose deputies patrol unincorporated parts of the county, entered city turf with a homeless outreach team to announce a plan to get people into housing by July 4.
His lofty overture, which has moved some people off the boardwalk but is unlikely to meet his goal this weekend, was met with resistance from much of LA’s political establishment, particularly Councilman Mike Bonin, whose district includes Venice.
Bonin, who criticized an approach that could lead to jail time if people don’t leave, launched his own plan days later. That effort, which has moved 64 people indoors, is being rolled out in several phases into August and promises to eventually provide permanent housing.
Bonin opposed the ordinance Thursday, saying the city doesn’t have tens of thousands of beds needed for the homeless and criticizing the plan for not showing where people can sleep.
Bonin, who is recovering from alcohol and drug addiction, disclosed that he lived without a home in his 20s and ended up sleeping on the beach when his car was in the shop or he couldn’t crash at a friend’s house.
“I can’t tell you how much turmoil, there is in your heart when the sun is setting and you don’t know where you can sleep,” Bonin said. “I cannot describe how demoralizing and dehumanizing and defeating that experience is when you don’t know where you’re gonna sleep.”

This story has been corrected to reflect that the measure requires a second vote later this month, not next month.




September 1, 2021


September 1, 2021


September 1, 2021


September 1, 2021

The Homeless Are Dying in Record Numbers on the Streets of Los Angeles Homeless people are dying across Los Angeles County, on bus benches, hillsides, railroad tracks and sidewalks.

By Kaiser Health News Contributor • April 23, 2019, at 12:39 p.m.

By Anna Gorman and Harriet Blair Rowan

A record number of homeless people — 918 last year alone — are dying across Los Angeles County, on bus benches, hillsides, railroad tracks and sidewalks. Deaths have jumped 76% in the past five years, outpacing the growth of the homeless population, according to a Kaiser Health News analysis of the coroner’s data. Health officials and experts have not pinpointed a single cause for the sharp increase in deaths, but they say rising substance abuse may be a major reason. The surge also reflects growth in the number of people who are chronically homeless and those who don’t typically use shelters, which means more people are living longer on the streets with serious physical and behavioral health issues, they say. Courtesy of Kaiser Health News “It is a combination of people who are living for a long time in unhealthy situations and who have multiple health problems,” said Michael Cousineau, a professor at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California. “There are more complications, and one of those complications is a high mortality rate. It’s just a tragedy.” Nearly 53,000 people were homeless in L.A. County last year, according to a point-in-time count of homeless residents, an increase of about 39% since 2014. The majority were not living in shelters. The homeless population has also grown nationwide, but there is no national count of homeless deaths. The Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner considers someone homeless if that person doesn’t have an established residence, or if the body was found in an encampment, shelter or other location that suggests homelessness. RELATED: In Santa Monica, California, a Haven for the Homeless Seeks to Do More Based on that criteria, the coroner reported 3,612 deaths of homeless people in L.A. County from 2014 to 2018. A detailed look at the numbers reveals a complex picture of where — and how — homeless people are dying. One-third died in hospitals and even more died outside, in places such as sidewalks, alleyways, parking lots, riverbeds and on freeway on-ramps. Male deaths outnumbered female deaths, but the percentage of homeless women who died increased faster than that of men. And although black people make up fewer than one-tenth of the county’s population, they accounted for nearly a quarter of the homeless deaths. “We need to take action now,” said Rev. Andy Bales, CEO of the Union Rescue Mission, a homeless shelter on L.A.’s skid row. “Otherwise next year it’s going to be more than 1,000.” Courtesy of Kaiser Health News Substance Abuse Drugs and alcohol played a direct role in at least a quarter of the deaths of homeless people over the past five years, according to the analysis of the coroner’s data. It likely contributed to many more, including some whose deaths were related to liver and heart problems. The coroner’s cause of death determination “doesn’t necessarily tell the whole story,” said Brian Elias, the county’s chief of coroner investigations, who called the increase “alarming.” A person who is homeless may get an infection on top of a chronic disease on top of a substance abuse disorder — and all of those together lead to bad outcomes. “It’s a house of cards,” said Dr. Coley King, a physician at the Venice Family Clinic. SEE: Deadly Drugs in America: Fentanyl, Heroin, Meth Raymond Thill was just 46 when he died last year of what his wife, Sherry Thill, called complications related to alcoholism. The couple had been homeless for many years before moving into a small apartment in South Los Angeles shortly before his death. Thill said her husband often drank vodka throughout the day and had been in and out of the hospital because of liver and other health problems. He tried rehab and she tried taking the alcohol away. Nothing worked, she said. READ: Homeless Older Adults Surge in Twin Cities Area “His mind was set,” she said. “So I took care of him.” In the end, Thill said, cirrhosis left her husband jaundiced, swollen and unable to keep food down. King treated Raymond Thill and said he is convinced that Thill would have lived longer if he’d been off the streets earlier. “This shouldn’t be happening,” especially when many deaths could have been prevented with better access to health care and housing, said David Snow, a sociology professor at the University of California-Irvine. “If you are on the streets, you are not getting the attention you need.” ‘Ready for Bad Luck to Happen’ Homeless residents in Los Angeles also died from the same ailments as the general population — heart disease, cancer, lung disease, diabetes and infections. But they did so at a much younger age, said Dr. Paul Gregerson, who treats homeless residents as chief medical officer for JWCH Institute clinics in the Los Angeles area. A stressful lifestyle, lack of healthy food and exposure to the weather contribute to an early death, he said. “If you are homeless, your body ages faster from living outside,” Gregerson said. In Los Angeles County, the average age of death for homeless people was 48 for women and 51 for men. The life expectancy for women in California in 2016 was 83 and 79 for men — among the best longevity statistics in the nation. Over the five-year period in L.A. County, there also was a sharp increase in deaths of younger adults who were homeless. For instance, the deaths of adults under 45 more than doubled. Courtesy of Kaiser Health News The data does not include information about mental illnesses, which Elias of the coroner’s office said could be a contributing factor in some of the deaths. Stephen Rosenstein, 59, was walking across the street in Panorama City, an L.A. neighborhood, when a car struck and killed him one night early last year, said his sister, Cindy Garcia. He had spent years bouncing from the streets to shelters to board-and-care homes, she said. Rosenstein had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and manic depression, Garcia said, and often resisted help — behavior she attributed to his mental illness. “Most people would want to have a roof over your head,” she said. “He just fought it all the way.” MORE: The Richest Counties in America Rosenstein’s cause of death was listed as “traumatic injuries.” Deaths by trauma or violence were common among the homeless in the period analyzed: At least 800 people died from trauma, and of those, about 200 were shot or stabbed. “They are ready for bad luck to happen,” King said.

This story was published by California Healthline and produced by Kaiser Health News (KHN), a nonprofit news service and an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Copyright © U.S. News & World Report L.P.

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