Point of View: Action needed for LA's homeless encampments

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We have all seen the trashy unsightly homeless camps that have sprouted up all over our city. This has become a major problem. In fact, in many of these encampments, drugs, prostitution and gang activity is rampant. They also can be an extreme health hazard as the San Diego outbreak of Hepatitis A has shown.

Even though voters just passed two tax increases to build 10,000 units of homeless housing. Still completion of those units is years away.

In the meantime the number of homeless will continue to explode if the past is any indication. The homeless population in Los Angeles rose 75% since 2010 and grew 23% from 2016 to 2017 totaling nearly 73,000. Clearly, something has to be done and done quickly.

In October, City Controller Ron Galperin suggested some worthwhile solutions, in his "Report on Homeless Encampments". The controller wants the city to open emergency campgrounds and shelters. Recently San Diego did just that. The city felt it had no other choice. The homeless situation was so out of control. Make no mistake, LA is at that point.

There are 191 homeless encampments in LA County alone. Nearly half of these encampments are in high risk fire areas. Retiring police chief, Charlie Beck stated lessening the homeless population will dramatically reduce crime in our city. We cannot leave things as they are considering Los Angeles has the highest proportion of homeless in the U.S. and is growing rapidly.

The "Report on Homeless Encampments " recommends that the city immediately utilize "municipal owned properties to create temporary shelters and encampments," so that these large tent cities could be shut down with their inhabitants having some place to go.

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