Making LA: Housing the Homeless

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Skid Row. Photo by Eve Fouché/CC/Flickr.

Skid Row. Photo by Eve Fouché/CC/Flickr.

Mayor Eric Garcetti promised to end chronic homelessness by the end of next year, and to end veteran homelessness this year. But that’s proving to be difficult.

Los Angeles is having its worst homeless crisis in years. More than 44,000 people live on streets, in cars and in shelters. That’s 12 percent more than two years ago. Encampments are up 85 percent as well.

What can be done? Madeleine Brand took a look at the ongoing issue with Gary Blasi, an advocate and researcher on homeless issues in Los Angeles and a professor at UCLA Law School; Andy Bales CEO of the Union Rescue Mission; and Stephen Peck, President and CEO of U.S. Vets. They each agree that there’s a crisis. 

“We need to declare a state of emergency in LA,” said Bales. “It’s a disaster.” 

“We’re not close to even beginning to address the problem,” said Blasi.

So what’s the solution? One thing that’s been working in other places is providing houses for people. It turns out to be cheaper in the long run. Listen here. 

Making L.A. is an ongoing series on Press Play. More, here.