At the center of the homeless crisis are filthy encampments where people eat, sleep and relieve themselves, all within the same few square yards. City and county governments are confronting the problem in creative ways.
On a four-block walk from his Venice home, a filmmaker encounters sky-high rents, a pet store offering “anti-anxiety calming anti-aggression” dog treats and gourmet “hot smoked peppered salmon” at Whole Foods. Last December he found a body by a bus bench.
A January study found that 11 percent of students on the California State University’s 23-campuses reported being homeless during the past year. At Humboldt State nearly a fifth said they’d been homeless at one point during 2017.
A 2017 audit found that in Los Angeles, from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m., there were only nine public toilets available for Skid Row’s estimated 1,777 unsheltered homeless people.
Skid Row porta-potties have a reputation as magnets for drug-dealing and prostitution. Homeless residents say they are afraid of being robbed in them, or worse.