Has patience for people sleeping on the streets been stretched to the breaking point?

President Trump is back in Washington after his two-day swing through California. While he was here, called Los Angeles and San Francisco's homelessness problem a “terrible situation.” 

On Tuesday, the LA County Board of Supervisors voted to file a legal brief with U.S. Supreme Court, urging it to overturn a ruling that allows the homeless to sleep on the street when there isn’t shelter space for them. The vote was 3 to 2. 

Zev Yaroslavsky, director of the L.A. Initiative at UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs, and former Los Angeles County Supervisor, shares his reaction to the vote: "I think this board, if I know them well enough, wants to have the discretion to do some things in a humane and intelligent way."

He suggests if a homeless person is blocking a business, it'd be a good idea to give them temporary shelter or housing, not just kick them out of the area. 

So there seems to be increasing frustration when it comes to California’s homeless crisis. Are we at a tipping point? And has President Trump tapped into something?

"One of the mistakes the political leaders have made, and I made it myself when I was politics, is promising more than we can deliver. And I think what political leaders need to tell us all today is: We’re going to solve this problem, but it’s going to take time… We’re going to make a dent. You’re going to see an improvement, but you have to hang with us," says Yaroslavsky. "And if in the next five years, we don’t see a significant reduction in homelessness on the streets, a significant reduction of encampments, then we have some people to hold accountable."

He adds that it's unrealistic to reverse a decades-long trend over just two to three years. 



  • Zev Yaroslavsky - former member of LA City Council and LA Board of Supervisors; author of “Zev’s Los Angeles: From Boyle Heights to the Halls of Power” - @ZevYaroslavsky