It looks like Eric Garcetti, the Mayor of L.A. is, at long last, making good on his promises to help the homeless.
On Tuesday 22nd September 2015 Los Angeles declared a state of emergency on homelessness.
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Last year Mayor Garcetti declared that he aimed to end homelessness amongst military veterans, however, it is only now that the city has begun to address the situation properly. Finally the homeless will be receiving care and support through a comprehensive program instated, whereby a budget of $100 million dollars annually is allocated for aid.
This pledge is truthfully a long overdue acknowledgement of an obvious problem, one that the city of Los Angeles needed to put greater support towards, for many years already.
Health & Safety at Risk
Homelessness in the metropolis is at horrific levels, with somewhat 25,686 disadvantaged souls scattered about L.A, according to statistics. The city is suffering from all angles, with Crime levels rising and health crisis outbreaks. Unsanitary living conditions throughout the city give rise to immune system deficiency and results in many Health hazards.
The homelessness crisis is placing the lives of many at risk, with areas such as Skid Row being so atrocious that even a unique strain of tuberculosis was born there! Complications such as these make not just the living conditions of others a concern, but one has to worry over the spread of disease to other areas of the city and surrounding areas, in turn affecting the community as a whole.
This was a repercussion of homelessness experienced on a first-hand level by Rev. Andy Bales. Rev. Bales, as reported by Richard Winton of the LA Times, lost his legs and almost his life as the result of an infected blister, which festered and spread thanks to bacteria encountered during his work helping the homeless in Skid Row. This is just one case, one victim who is not even forced to be in such conditions. There are many, constant sufferers living in this cesspit of poverty.
LA Taking Action?
It does certainly seem as if the LA city management members are taking this human welfare crisis seriously as action is being taken and suggested all around the city. The Los Angeles Daily News recently shared a statement from Councilman Paul Krekorkian whereby he urges LA’s planning commission to use the revenue generated from digital billboards on city-owned property towards assisting the poor and alleviating this state of emergency.
Steps are being taken in all ways in an attempt relieve the homeless of some of their desperation. Los Angeles Council’s recently established Homelessness and Poverty Committee agreed not to pass a policy whereby the homeless would be allowed to have their property seized with the accompaniment of a fine. This, with other repeals, is a new movement from the Committee, and LA Downtown News also reported storage facilities being set in place instead.
Support All Round
Los Angeles city management may be stepping up their game to help the homeless, but they are not the only ones! Across LA people are coming together to show their support. As the adage goes, music is the doctor. In the case of Skid Row, a band called The Title Trackers is the attending physician!
They perform at the Midnight Mission shelter in a free concert for the homeless held annually since 2010, according to LA Weekly. Endeavours such as these do wonders to raise funding and promote action towards assisting the homeless citizens of LA. Even Pope Francis attended a lunch recently, in support of the homeless, sending his prayers and well-wishes. Let’s hope that more action is taken all around, after all the lives, health and welfare of the citizens of LA are at risk.
Los Angeles may be the first US city to ever declare a state of emergency on homelessness, but the City of Angels is not alone in dealing with this dire misfortune. New York, Washington, Minnesota and in actual fact almost all states across the US have members of society living on the streets.
The Washington Post even reported that the amount of students, across the country, has doubled since 2009! Homelessness plagues people of all countries and denominations. Sky News warns of how England is even “sleepwalking” into a homelessness crisis. It is clear that infrastructure and Government, worldwide, needs to place more time and resources into the basic needs of the People .
Citizens who were once soldiers on the whim and call of their country, now live in tents, shacks and boxes left to fend for themselves amidst worldwide economic instability. Funding and support such as that in the pipeline for LA, is a great example for others to follow. We need to work together for growth and co-creation and we cannot do so without awareness of the basic needs and challenges of society.