This is what it takes for Los Angeles to clear a homeless encampment

AP Photo/John McCoy, File

For a while during the runup to the elections last month, it looked as if former Republican real estate developer Rick Caruso might pull off a miracle and defeat Democratic Congresswoman Karen Bass to become the next Mayor of Los Angeles. In the end, Bass squeaked out a six-point victory and will be inaugurated as the first female Mayor in the city’s history. Out on the campaign trail, Bass made a point of repeatedly promising to tackle the city’s endemic homelessness crisis. Not coincidentally, a large group of homeless people have been living in an encampment that activists set up right next to City Hall earlier this year, trying to draw the attention of the Mayor and the City Council to the problem. That wouldn’t make for very good visuals for the new Mayor’s inauguration, however, so the city leaped into action by packing them all up in buses on Thursday and shipping them elsewhere. (CBS Los Angeles)

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One of Los Angeles Mayor-elect Karen Bass’s top priorities is tackling the city’s homeless crisis. Now, just days before her inauguration, a major encampment near L.A. City Hall is getting cleaned up.

According to the L.A. Times, unhoused residents who have been living near City Hall at 1st and Spring streets in downtown Los Angeles were loaded into vans Thursday.

They were reportedly sent to the L.A. Grand Hotel, a temporary homeless facility on Figueroa St.

If you’re worried about the welfare of the homeless who were moved out to someplace less visible, don’t be. Much as was done in New York City earlier this year, the departing homeless were sent to the L.A. Grand Hotel. If you visit the hotel’s website, you will see no mention of the fact that it is now being used as a homeless shelter. The site only notifies you that the hotel is undergoing renovations and will offer all new services and style “premiering in 2023.”

The homeless problem in California and particularly in Los Angeles is much like the weather, according to the wisdom of Mark Twain. Everyone talks about it, but nobody ever does anything about it. Bass promised to tackle the problem while campaigning, but we’ve yet to hear any sort of serious proposal as to how she plans to do it.

But that’s always been the problem in most of America’s larger cities. The only “solutions” that have been offered all seem to involve finding more “free” housing and shipping the homeless people out to stay there. As with so many aspects of modern governance, however, that’s a self-defeating approach. The more “free” services you establish for the homeless, the more homeless people you’re going to attract. (Also, nothing the government gives away is “free.” The taxpayers foot all of the bills.)

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Unfortunately, the only potentially feasible approach to addressing the epidemic of homelessness would be both prohibitively expensive and politically unpopular among the liberals who make up the majority of most urban metropolitan areas. On an individual basis, authorities should be able to divide the homeless population up into four categories and deal with them according to their needs and conditions.

The people on the streets who are suffering from mental illness (a fair portion of the population) need to be put into mental hospitals. This needs to be done even if they try to refuse treatment, much like the approach currently being attempted in New York City. Those trapped in long-term drug and alcohol addiction should similarly be put in appropriate treatment centers. The hard-core criminals in their midst need to be locked up and put into rehabilitation programs. And those who are sane and well-behaved need to be put into employment development programs and temporary housing until they can successfully reenter society. That’s the end result for the previously listed groups as well, once they reach the point where they are able to do so.

Of course, liberals would set their hair on fire if the government just started carting people away in that fashion. And as I already mentioned, all of that hospitalization and specialized care would probably bankrupt the city in short order. So we’re unlikely to see any real solutions any time soon and all we’ll be getting is more lip service.

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