By Jenn Stanley.
More homeless people in Los Angeles are leaving Skid Row for other more visible areas of the city, such as parks and near freeways. A recent count revealed a 12 percent rise in the homeless population in the last two years, but according to a report this week by Marketplace, the location shift has several reasons.
Some of the increased visibility is the result of lawsuits. Until the city can supply more affordable housing, the homeless can legally camp on sidewalks from 9 p.m. until 6 a.m.
The police are also restricted in the way they deal with people’s possessions.
“If they take somebody into custody, then law enforcement needs to take all of their property,” says [a street outreach advocate]. “They need to input it. They need to store it.”
Itemizing all that stuff can take hours. It’s not just tents, but piles of belongings. Some of it’s essentially trash, and the cops don’t have a place to store it. For police, those are big incentives to look the other way.
That’s not the only way L.A.‘s homeless population is becoming more visible, however. As Next City reported last fall, an effort to bring high design to social services shelters has yielded an uncommonly beautiful respite for formerly homeless Angelenos in Skid Row’s new Star apartment building.