Lancaster officials say there's been a huge influx of homeless people to their Antelope Valley city lately, so what do they think is the best response? Closing the Metrolink commuter rail station, which they believe "Downtown Los Angeles" is using to ferry homeless people into Lancaster, according to the Antelope Valley Times. A report earlier this year found that there are more homeless people coming to Lancaster, but most were from the area, had friends or family in the city, or at least "have found Lancaster on their own as a clean and peaceful alternative to life in the big city." But now Lancaster officials insist someone in LA is buying individuals tickets to Lancaster, though no hard evidence of that exists. Regardless, the city's public safety manager said at a city council meeting this week that during one day he encountered "over 67 individual that were coming here [via Metrolink] for transitory services."
Lancaster's bombastic mayor, R. Rex Parris, says he wants the train station—the last stop on the Antelope Valley line that connects to DTLA—shut down "today." No, a mayor can't just order a commuter train station serving thousands of people closed because he believes homeless are using it to access services, the city attorney reminded him.
While Lancaster's proposal is crazy, there is no question the city is being hit with a heavy financial burden when it comes to providing homeless services. But rather than ask for more funding from Sacramento, the mayor, vice mayor, and councilmembers are all in agreement that shutting down the station is the best response. As the city attorney pointed out, Lancaster would need to perform several analyses and study the environmental impacts before the Metrolink station was shuttered.
· Lancaster mulls closing Metrolink station to stop outside poaching of homeless services [Antelope Valley Times]