By Mindy Larios
Los Angeles’ homeless crisis has gone from bad to worse. The problem has become uncontrollable and tangible. New York is ranked as the highest place were homelessness is most common, but Los Angeles is not far behind. Los Angeles currently holds second place and the areas where this issue is more concentrated is Downtown Skid Row area, and the beach communities of Santa Monica and Venice Beach. This crisis in Los Angeles has soared by 23% in the past year and it is clearly shown. If you’ve visited places such as Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, you would find yourself stepping over people draped in filthy blankets who are begging for money. Tents that provide shelters for homeless people, are packed under the freeways in Downtown and the stench of urine, drugs, and filth, would instantly hit you if you were to pass through these freeways.
To begin with, how are these people left without homes and without money to support themselves? There are many reasons why people are left homeless, one of them being unemployment. Either from losing a job or not being able to obtain one, not having employment leads to no money. Without money, people are unable to pay rent or food and have no choice but to choose the streets as their home. Another factor is rent being too high for a person to pay. The lowest average rent rate in Los Angeles begins at $1,000.That is why not being able to financially support yourself, is the main cause for homelessness in Los Angeles. Apart from financial problems, another factor that leads to people becoming homeless is mental illness or addictions. People who have mental illnesses are lost in the homeless world and cannot get out. They need mental health care but are not able to seek help themselves. Without treatment, these people are not able to get jobs and earn money. On the other hand if someone who is homeless is yet not addicted to drugs, it’s possible that they soon will be. According to statistics, 2 out of 3 homeless people begin drug addictions. Homelessness is an issue that can happen at any age, to any race, and gender.
As mentioned earlier, the issue of homelessness is getting worse as the years progress. However, there are things being done. They’re various shelters located in Los Angeles for homeless people. These shelters give help by offering food, medical service, and temporary housing. By stabilizing people through shelter, moving them into permanent housing, and implementing assistance programs to keep them in their housing, we can not only reduce, but eliminate, homelessness in Los Angeles and around the world. Homeless people are often labeled as lazy, treated as invisible, and rejected in society. We should not judge these people without knowing their struggles. After all, we can someday face such difficulties, that could eventually lead us to becoming unsheltered and alone.