Letters to the Editor: Is Rick Caruso’s ‘short-term’ homelessness plan what L.A. needs?
Rick Caruso is the editor and publisher of The Orange County Register.
In the past week, the nation’s attention has shifted from the recent tragic death of a homeless man in San Jose to the very real fact that California has the nation’s highest rate of people living on the streets of the Golden State.
Unfortunately, the story has been framed in two extremes. The left blames the homeless man’s death on poor policy. The right blames the homeless man’s death on poor personal choice.
While there are certainly some issues with the “lack of housing” situation in Los Angeles, the issues are actually a combination of both factors.
First of all, if California is to curb its unacceptably high homeless ratio now, the solution is not necessarily a “housing first” approach. There are far better ways to do it.
In Los Angeles, if there are 1,000 people living in homelessness, if 70% of those 1,000 want to get on the road in the next few years and if the average waiting time to get a motel room is seven days, you need a whole new approach.
The truth is most of the people living on the streets want to get back on the road, and the vast majority of the homeless are not going to come out with a “housing first” plan.
That’s because at the end of the day, most of the homeless are addicted to drugs or alcohol, they have mental health issues, physical health issues, emotional issues, and a host of other issues that cannot be addressed in a housing solution.
Secondly, the root cause of homelessness is social, as is the truth of why we are talking about it now as opposed to 40 or 50 years ago. The simple truth is, people who have lost their jobs, have had to move in and out of homes, have lost custody of their children, have watched all their possessions, bank accounts, and credit cards seized by creditors have a tendency to go into destructive behavior.
If I were one of the homeless, I would go on the streets, and while