NBC LA published a story this week focused on the problem of human feces on the streets of Los Angeles. There are an estimated 36,000 homeless in the city (60,000 in LA County) but the city only has 16 portable toilets and those are removed at night. The result is people using streets, sidewalks, and even businesses as bathrooms:
In one act caught on camera, a homeless man is seen waking up on South Hope Street. He unbuckles his belt, walks over to the front door of a business, pulls down his pants, and defecates right on the door mat in broad daylight.
“We are not in a third world country,” said Maria Janossy, who works in the building where the incident happened.
Next to a West Los Angeles homeless encampment, a man urinated on a cop car…
“My car has been defecated on, not once but twice,” said Mar Vista resident Roman Samiley.
Samiley and his family live a half a block from an encampment.
“I’m scared of the public health hazards,” he said.
The story notes that a hepatitis A outbreak in the city last year was partly blamed on a lack of public bathrooms for the homeless.
NBC LA asked Mayor Garcetti why the city isn’t doing more to keep the city’s streets from becoming bathrooms and he says the city can’t afford to do more. “We simultaneously have to clean up streets, clean up this crap, and build housing,” Garcetti said.
LA isn’t alone in this problem. A survey of San Francisco residents published this week found that homelessness is now their number one concern.
The annual City Beat Poll From San Francisco’s Chamber of Commerce shows that housing costs are still a major concern for San Franciscans, but now homelessness and street behavior is the number one concern. It’s an issue that’s hard to miss on San Francisco’s streets, homelessness has crept into every corner of the city, and according to the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce is now the top issue that needs to be tackled. 71% of San Franciscans say it’s their number one concern.
Also this week California Governor Gavin Newsom said the situation was a “disgrace” and promised to do more to address it:
“Let’s call it what it is, a disgrace, that the richest state in the richest nation, succeeding across so many sectors, is failing to properly house, heal and humanely treat so many of its own people,” Newsom said. “Every day, the California Dream is dimmed by the wrenching reality of families, children and seniors living unfed on a concrete bed.”…
California is home to roughly 140,000 people living on the streets — about a quarter of the nation’s homeless population.
For Newsom, 52, homelessness is fast emerging as a critical crucible, one that threatens to potentially derail his re-election hopes in 2022 if tangible solutions are not found. To date, Newsom’s administration has allocated $1.5 billion to help local governments tackle homelessness, but evidence of big changes remain elusive.
Democrats have complete control of the state so this isn’t an issue of partisan gridlock. This is a problem of Democrats who are unwilling to admit that the cost of providing housing and services to California’s estimate 140,000 homeless (more than 1/4 of the nation’s total) would be extraordinary and would require a serious bump in taxes.
In addition, homeless activists don’t want to admit that a substantial portion of this problem is driven by addiction and mental illness, neither of which can be solved with higher density housing or cheaper rent. So for the meantime we have an increasingly bad situation playing out on the streets.