Last weekend, Pauley Perrett, an actress on NCIS, was attacked outside her Hollywood home. Her attacker, a well know homeless man with a history of dangerous behavior, stated he was going to kill her. Luckily he changed his mind and fled, after assaulting her. With his aggressive actions increasing, many in the neighborhood were worried about his well being and that of those in the area. This recent encounter is one of many, and one that highlights Los Angeles’ homelessness crisis.
Falling short of declaring a state of emergency, as many believe is merited, Perett’s attack has many discussing this issue. LA Times reports that there are over 26,000 homeless individuals living on the streets in makeshift tents and encampments. Homelessness in Southern California has jumped 12% in two years, due to low wages, high rent and living expenses, and gentrification.
STATE OF EMERGENCY
Falling short of declaring a state of emergency, as many believe is merited, this situation has been labeled a “shelter crisis.” City Councilman Mitch Englander call this, “a Band-Aid solution to a major problem where every organ in the body is failing.” This description is fitting, as this same “crisis” is declared every year from November to March, but the situation is getting worse.
The two biggest issues Los Angeles, the community, and the homeless face are both short and long term. In the short term, El Nino is predicted to bring an onslaught of rain and cold weather to the area. Flooding will be a major concern, and many of the encampments are along the LA River basin or near storm drains. More long term concerns arise when considering the coincidence of mental health issues with the homeless population. Many in Hollywood knew Perrett’s attacker and witnessed his decline into agression, but with no assistence or shelter options, there was little anyone could do. If Los Angeles declares a state of emergency, it will free up federal funding that can be applied to programs, shelters, and general assistance for the homeless.
What do you think: Does Los Angeles need declare a state of emergency? Is homelessness becoming an epidemic in America? Is there a good solution? Tell us on Facebook and Twitter
November 18, 2015 / Ryan Serey