LOS ANGELES, CA (FOX 11 editorial) - Over the years Los Angeles County and city government has spent billions of dollars trying to reduce the homeless population with little success.
Instead the numbers of homeless in Southern California has increased this year by double digits to a massive 60,000+.
Clearly, just throwing money at the problem simply has not worked.
Now local government is planning to spend another 2 billion dealing with the homeless in the next three years.
In the words of a homeless expert, "one size does not fit all". Meaning that individual homeless problems have to be treated individually if we are ever going to have any success.
Huge portions of the homeless population are mentally ill, drug addicted, immigrants, or just plain unemployed. Many want to remain on the street because this is the life they know or they have no choice because they have no income.
You can build all the housing in the world, but if those with no income, mental illness, or drug problems will not or cannot leave the streets more units will not solve the problem. County and city government need to make sure that they reach out one on one to this homeless population.
So far outreach is not happening in great enough numbers. This outreach solution seems to almost be completely overlooked by government.
Yes it is absolutely essential that more low income housing needs to be built and county and city government have currently allocated multimillions of dollars in for that very thing. But a more aggressive humane intervention outreach should not be shortchanged. As of now only nine more outreach teams are being added for all of Los Angeles County. Based on a county government statistical analysis at least ten times that number is actually needed to make any significant impact.
Enough of the homeless have to want to get off the street or be given the proper individual help and direction to make any real dent in the problem. This will never happen unless there is enough outreach and one-on-one assistance. With all the billions being planned to be spent on dealing with the issue far more needs to be set aside for outreach. Otherwise after spending billions on housing all we will end up with just more people homeless.
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