To the editor: A credible homeless street engagement strategy has to be rooted in a commitment to actually house the vulnerable human beings who need and deserve housing, and not just to clear the streets. (“Will an L.A. street engagement strategy really get homeless people housed? Don’t count on it,” editorial, Nov. 18)
The City Council’s proliferation of resolutions to ban encampments puts the focus on where people can’t be. What the council isn’t clear on is where people are going.
The council and the public should know what interventions were offered and what was successful in ending someone’s unhoused experience. Otherwise, the city will just be spending a tremendous amount of time and money supporting the shuffling of homeless people from one corner to another.
So far, the city has invested only about $2 million in additional outreach teams, roughly the same it is spending on “no camping” signs. What is still missing is a massive additional investment to support actually housing these Angelenos.
Accountability matters, and the strategy advanced in my absence from the council soft-pedals on the components that are vital to ensuring a meaningful change on our streets.
Mark Ridley-Thomas, Los Angeles. The writer is a suspended member of the Los Angeles City Council.