Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Homeless in LA

The results of a concentration of services in one area of Los Angeles—a situation all too common in many cities, including Sacramento—reveals the desperate measures and crimogenic environments that many in the homeless population create as they struggle to survive, in an article from the Los Angeles Times.

It is another story in a long parade of stories that lend credence to the scattered-site approach to services—especially housing services—we wrote about in a Commentary published in the Sacramento Bee May 12, 2008 and posted to our website—third press release post down.

An excerpt from the Los Angeles Times article.

“Los Angeles police have discovered that the shuttered Channel 13 studios on La Brea Avenue in Hollywood has become a haven for homeless squatters.

“Officers found squalid conditions inside the landmark building, including discarded hypodermic needles, piles of trash, makeshift bedding in office cubicles and human filth on the floors and walls.

"I was disgusted. There was literally a hill of trash, 3 feet high and 20 feet wide in the middle of the main office," said Arthur Gallegos, the LAPD's senior lead officer for the area. "They had water and electricity. The offices were like hotel rooms, including a television and a clothing dresser. They put pornography up on the wall."

“Police moved in and evicted more than a dozen squatters. But Peter Nichols, Founder of the Melrose Action Neighborhood Watch, said that it represents a larger problem for the area, especially in the deteriorating economy.

"Police have discovered encampments on roofs of businesses, in crawl spaces under homes, in the yards of foreclosed or unoccupied homes or apartments and behind garages on homeowners' properties," Nichols said. "It should be noted that in almost all these cases, it hasn't been people seeking shelter, it's people doing drugs, illegal sex acts or hiding stolen contraband."…

“Gallegos said that in many of his contacts with area homeless a high percentage have warrants or previous arrests. Several of the transients who had occupied the old KCOP building had previous arrest and prison records. …

“Transients already are drawn to the area by services that include free food, medical care and a needle exchange.

"There is no reason for them to leave," Gallegos said.”