Skidless Hometown


High-Rise View of Homelessness


During the pandemic, many affluent communities awoke to a view of tent encampments through their picture windows. The immediate solution many conceive is to rally neighbors to request police to eliminate the eye sore.

But where do they go? To public parks, freeway underpasses, parking lots, empty malls, and nearby neighborhoods. Like a game of three-card Monty, even if you don't see them one place, they remain elsewhere. Having them ‘move along’ does not solve the problem.

Skid Row is a phrase coined to describe a Seattle street where felled logs were slid to its port for shipping. The 19th century street, lined with flop houses and transients, became widely associated with inner-city districts of the downtrodden.

The de-industrialization in the 1980s shifted employment opportunities from manufacturing to minimum-wage service industry jobs. As incomes fell below general cost of living, the rate of unemployment mushroomed.

With a population of over 4,000, Downtown Los Angeles has the largest and most expensive buildings in the city. Ironically, it remains host to the largest concentration of Skid Row citizens.

Formerly incarcerated often have difficulty transitioning into productive employment. Mentally ill and unemployed continue to find themselves living among affluence, yet socially apart from them. Many of the homeless have at least a high school education.

Write a Solution and Implement

Efforts to reform and eliminate the housing crisis have fallen victim to political red tape. The estimated cost of sheltering and sustaining every Los Angeles County homeless person is $1.5 billion. Several hundred million dollars of funding evaporates before benefiting intended recipients. The most notable relief may be a soup kitchen and blankets.

Homeless man on street

Supportive housing provides not only covering from harsh weather, but also an address required to fill out an employment application. Many residents would be content with tiny houses of a few hundred square feet.

Providing free shelter for 12 months allows enough time for residents to learn a trade or find a job. Thereafter, rent commensurate with likely service industry employment can establish a sense of responsibility and continued funding to the program.

An alliance of residents, business owners, and community leaders brought a lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles for the “death and devastation of our streets.” In a settlement, the city agreed to create shelter and/or housing over the next five years to accommodate 60% of people experiencing homelessness in the city who “do not have a serious mental illness and are not chronically homeless with a substance use disorder or chronic physical illness.”

Obviously, the plan will not end the problem in totality. Forty percent of those without mental illness are excluded and 100 percent of those with such illness are left on the streets. Additionally, the number of displaced will continue rising over the years.

To support the writing of useful articles about mental health, ClinicalPosters sells human anatomy charts, scientific posters and other products online. Slide extra posters into DeuPair Frames without removing from the wall or leave an encourag­ing comment to keep the work going.

  1. Ending Homelessness in Los Angeles.
  2. City of Los Angeles agrees to provide thousands of beds in homelessness crisis lawsuit settlement.

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