The issue of homelessness has largely been ignored in Los Angeles. Tactics such as criminalizing and physically displacing homeless individuals have been the methods of choice. With the combined effects of a growing homeless population, a decrease in the overall number of affordable housing units, and a reliance on ineffective methods of handling the homeless population, the issue of homelessness has since developed into one of the city’s most troublesome issues.
It is unacceptable to ignore the issue of homelessness when it is so prevalent. Urban planners and other government officials are tasked with the difficult challenge of acknowledging the homeless situation while balancing other seemingly more important needs. For example, while big developers exert pressure so that their projects are approved, it is crucial to keep the livelihood of homeless individuals in mind. Recent articles published about Geoff Palmer, a major developer, show us exactly what planners shouldn’t do. The name behind more than 3,000 apartment projects, Geoff Palmer is known to build apartment buildings that purposely excludes lower income populations by not allowing for affordable housing units (which is a violation of city ordinances). Furthermore, Palmer is an advocate of building sky bridges in his apartments, citing that they are necessary to protect tenants from interacting with the homeless population.
Instead of promoting apartment buildings that act like city vacuums, Los Angeles desperately needs more affordable housing units. Not only that, but we need animated and lively residences where occupants can receive the services that they require. Recent development projects such as the Gateways Apartments, Star Apartments, and the New Carver Apartments fulfill this role. Boasting dazzling architecture, the goal is to make low-income occupants feel proud of their living spaces instead of making them feel like they belong to an institution or a low-income project. All three developments provide in-building mental and health services, some offering additional services such as job counseling.
How else should Los Angeles be acknowledging its homeless population? Does your city have a large homeless population? How do they support the reduction of the homeless population? Share your stories in the comments below.
Credits: Images and data linked to sources.