Homelessness is rising severely throughout Los Angeles (as rents rise, wages fall, and federal money for housing disappears), and the majority of money the city spends on the problem is in law enforcement—kicking people out of homeless encampments, seizing their stuff, and issuing citations. Rich Pacific Palisades can afford to take a more humane approach: it's privately raising $500,000 to provide its own health and housing services to its homeless residents (it's estimated there are about 180 in the neighborhood), reports the LA Times. It's a rare move and probably for good reason—government services for everyone tend to suffer when rich people opt out (see public schools), and LA is already doing a poor job of helping out its homeless citizens. Still, as an immediate solution, it's certainly better than calling in the LAPD.
Pac Pal has contracted with Santa Monica-based Ocean Park Community Center and hopes to employ two full-time outreach workers by January who will help its homeless residents connect with services, including short-term and long-term housing. (The effort has already raised $100k.) That's another issue with the plan: just because homeless people don't have homes, doesn't mean they don't have communities, and Pac Pal's effort is unlikely to find them housing in their neighborhood. The area has fought a sober living home in the past and is unlikely to make room for much affordable housing. One national homelessness expert tells the LAT "It would be great if the community thought about the creation of affordable housing in their community."
As it is, affordable housing tends to cluster in lower-income neighborhoods, since richer neighborhoods are so good at fighting that kind of development. And, unlike Pac Pal, those neighborhoods don't have the resources necessary to get their homeless neighbors off the streets—LA City Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson, who reps a swath of South LA, says that his district has plenty of food kitchens, "but they don't have fundraising ability to the tune of a half-million dollars."
· In upscale Pacific Palisades, reaching out to a rising homeless population [LAT]
· A Lot More People Are Homeless in Los Angeles These Days [Curbed LA]
· How Los Angeles is Ghettoizing Affordable Housing and Creating Gentrification [Curbed LA]