Los Angeles’ beaches are world famous, and one of the most charming is Venice Beach: a seaside community, isolated from big business, where wealthy people buy properties to relax or retire, and a favorite destination for bohemian artists .
This heavenly place is now the epicenter of an unprecedented homeless crisis in the region, making it resistant to tourists and even the residents themselves (largely high-ranking Google employees, which have an office nearby).
All along the beachfront, from the sand to the sidewalk and sidewalks, you can now see camping tents, cardboard boxes or wooden shacks that serve as shelter for hundreds of people.
Largely passersby they are not people who lost their home because of an economic problem. anyone but long-time homeless people, drug addicts or mentally ill.
O New York Times talked to some of these homeless people. John Simpson, 64, for example, explained that he had been living on the street for 30 years and that his family had thrown him out because of alcoholism. When being assisted by a social assistance team was allowed to take his bottle of vodka with him.
The high concentration of homeless people in Los Angeles can be explained in part by the economic crisis of the pandemic and in part by the state’s permissive policies that allow the consumption of some drugs and that does not have an adequate policy to resolve the situation of homeless people. .
In Los Angeles, it’s not uncommon to see people walking around naked, urinating in public places or using drugs. Today, more than a quarter of the homeless population in the United States lives in California (11% in Los Angeles, according to a 2020 report by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development).
Crisis is disrupting business
This situation has also hampered local businesses, Patrick Liberty, who has owned a clothing store near the beach promenade for 27 years, told the Wall Street Journal that the shacks have done as much damage to your business in the last year as the pandemic.
“People used to come to Venice because of the beauty of the place, they noticed the view they had from our store,” he said. “Now it’s like you’re walking under an overpass: it’s ugly, dangerous and it stinks.”
The crisis in the Venice Beach neighborhood made the community look for a solution for the homeless for the first time.
Approximately 200 homeless people will enter a 6-month program in temporary homes with social services included and vouchers to help send people to your home community.
The move is being organized by the NGO St. Joseph Center, which hopes to regain some of the old beach landscape, but the local government has not announced any action for people who refuse to leave.
The NGO hopes that the reluctant will convince themselves to leave when they see friends and colleagues being well cared for: “When people live for a long time in subhuman conditions, they get used to it. Reversing that takes time.” the General Manager of the St. Joseph Center told the WSJ.
If the Venice Beach action is successful, there are plans to export it to the rest of the state.