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The homeless in LA aren’t getting the help they need

Homeless man and his dog camping on a beach in Waikiki with landmark hotels in the background. The homeless problem in Hawaii affects tourists and locals.
Homeless man and his dog camping on a beach in Waikiki with landmark hotels in the background. The homeless problem in Hawaii affects tourists and locals.
Theodore Trimmer / Shutterstock.com

Being homeless isn’t easy, and the Los Angeles City Council is working to make it even harder.

The Los Angeles City Council voted on two proposals that would allow officials to remove homeless people’s belongings from the streets with only 24 hours of warning or without notice if the items don’t fit in a 60 gallon trash can, Gale Holland wrote for the Los Angeles Times.

While the proposals must still go through one more round of voting, one city councilman expressed concern that the would-be laws only further criminalize homelessness, which hasn’t worked, Holland reported

"We spend $100 million on homelessness, and 85 percent of our response is law enforcement," Councilman Gil Cedillo, who didn’t vote in favor of the proposals, said. "That tells us our strategy is not working."

READ MORE: Giving the homeless a home is often cheaper than leaving them on the streets

In Los Angeles County, homelessness is up 12 percent since 2013, Zeeshan Aleem reported for Mic.

In Oxford, England, city officials tried to ban “anti-social activities,” like rough sleeping, BBC reported.

However, the ban was removed after many people expressed concern that the government was trying to criminalize homelessness.

While the Los Angeles City Council may approve of added police presence as a way to combat homelessness, it has already seen success in diminishing it.

Los Angeles is part of an initiative that is working to provide permanent housing to homeless veterans. These efforts have ultimately been successful and caused the number of homeless veterans to decrease, Aleem reported.

“L.A. is better off devoting the kind of resources it's providing for homeless veterans to its entire homeless population,” Aleem wrote. “It's more humane, and it's smart policy.”

Several cities across the nation have seen success in decreasing homelessness by helping people get housing.

New York University psychologist Sam Tsemberis did a study in 1992, where 242 homeless people were given housing without any hoops to jump through, Scott Carrier reported for Mother Jones.

They could act as they wanted in their houses as long as their neighbors weren’t bothered and no one was hurt. Rehab, detox and health care were available if the homeless people sought out the services, Carrier wrote.

Five years later, 88 percent of the people who had been given homes were still living in them.

This model has been implemented in several cities with great success. Rather than increasing the interaction between the homeless and the police, housing them has been much more successful.

"Going from homelessness into a home changes a person's psychological identity from outcast to member of the community," Tsemberis told Carrier.

RELATED LINKS:

U.S. cities restrict sharing food with homeless people

Americans blame homeless for their poverty, study reports

Introducing the "Bill of Rights for the Homeless"

Shelby Slade is a writer for Deseret News National. Email: sslade@deseretdigital.com, Twitter: shelbygslade.