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L.A.: Homeless Residents Can Be Saved by Government

Joe Scudder
Written by Joe Scudder

Government is so capable and efficient that it will be a wonderful landlord for homeless residents. Right.

L.A. wants to become a landlord for the sake of the city’s homeless residents. They will trade one aspect of the local nanny state for another. The city bought up property in the past for parking lots. Now they want to convert some of them into multistory housing for homeless residents.

What could go wrong?

L.A.’s nice whether already attracts homeless people. This will attract more. But is it even being done for the homeless?

The L.A. Times reports, “A plan to house L.A.’s homeless residents could transform parking lots across the city.

Combined, the properties could support thousands of new units. Some would go to low-income renters, whether they are homeless or not. But even if only half the units were set aside for homeless people, that would make up a substantial boost to the 10-year building goal.

So, only half is for the homeless. Assuming the city bureaucracy can ever allow the project to go forward.

But the hope that using city properties would dramatically speed the pace of construction is being tested by the realities of city procedures

Yolanda Chavez, an assistant city administrative officer, said the office is reviewing lots a few at a time and will confer with the Department of Transportation to determine their suitability and the number of spaces that need to be preserved.

[…]

Because the process incurs costs, such as appraisal fees, Chavez said she requires a show of support from a City Council member in the form of a motion before she will begin it.

Then the story claims that these proposed homes for the homeless will bring “new life” to their districts. I would love to see homeless people helped by others, but in what world does life work like that? If they could bring new life to a neighborhood how did they become homeless? I’ll grant that there are occasional read bad luck stories, but a homeless population has many other problems.

In almost every case, the scale of the project would change the character of a neighborhood, potentially bringing new life to aging business districts, but almost certainly stirring opposition in some. 

Then, the story hints that this whole thing is a gift to well-connected businesses.

At a January meeting of the Lincoln Heights Neighborhood Council, a field deputy for Cedillo faced more than 100 residents who were upset that two developers — WORKS, a northeast L.A. nonprofit, and the for-profit GTM Holdings — were given an exclusive negotiating agreement to build on the lots without public input.

Also, the story tells us again that other groups want to use this push to help the homeless to get free stuff for themselves.

Channa Grace, the president and chief executive of WORKS, said she expects the project to include senior housing and other affordable housing and some replacement parking, in addition to permanent supportive housing for homeless people.

Read the entire story.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by EagleRising.com


About the author

Joe Scudder

Joe Scudder

Joe Scudder is the "nom de plume" (or "nom de guerre") of a fifty-ish-year-old writer and stroke survivor. He lives in St Louis with his wife and still-at-home children. He has been a freelance writer and occasional political activist since the early nineties. He describes his politics as Tolkienesque.

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