L.A. Trying to Hide Its Homelessness Problem for Super Bowl Sunday

There are currently more than 63,000 homeless people in Los Angeles county, with hundreds more showing up in homeless encampments every week. And with the Super Bowl being played on Sunday, Feb. 13, the powers that be in Los Angeles are working harder to hide the homeless than they ever worked to help them.

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The city is moving unhoused people from encampments in areas where Super Bowl tourists might see them. In truth, they could hardly miss them. Recently, the city moved hundreds of homeless people from Venice Beach only to have small tent cities pop up nearby.

Fox News:

Last summer, more than 200 homeless campers were cleared from Venice Beach in a major operation. Residents said they have seen some clean-ups around the city, but encampments continue to emerge – founder of HAAVEN Shared Housing founder Heidi Roberts calls “waterbed syndrome.”

“Like, you press here and it bumps up over here, press here, it bumps up over here,” Roberts said. “So, it seems like they’re spending millions and millions of dollars just to shift people around to different neighborhoods when if they were smart about this, I mean, they could actually solve the problem.”

Solving intractable problems like homelessness can’t be done by sprinkling pixie dust and magically creating affordable housing. It takes money and a commitment from the entire community. Simply hiding the problem won’t solve anything.

NBCNews:

In recent months, the city of Los Angeles has voted to make street camping illegal in more than 200 locations, while across the county, encampments like the one where Taki lived are getting cleared. Hers was less than two miles from SoFi Stadium, but another encampment next to it, yet out of sight from passersby, was left untouched.

Taki said the people who cleared them out did not offer any type of help when she and the others living under the freeway were told to leave.

“They didn’t offer us no vouchers,” she said. “No nothing.”

The city and state have thrown billions of dollars at the problem, but like many efforts by the government, there is an immense amount of waste.

Local and state officials are working to allocate billions of dollars in federal, state and local funding to arrange or build housing for homeless people. Through a project called Homekey, the state made 6,000 housing units available in its first phase and has projected to add another 55,000 over the next few years.

But the program’s last report indicates that less than 2,000 units have been made available in Los Angeles County. As the region struggles with growing homelessness, it’s also gearing up to host the 2028 Olympics.

Much has been written about the loss of the middle class in cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco, largely due to a lack of affordable housing. When the median cost for a single-family home in L.A. County is nearly $800,000, it’s hard to see where the “middle class” can live.

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