Advertisement

Letters to the Editor: How L.A. is breaking its social contract with the unhoused

A homeless encampment on San Vicente Boulevard on April 14.
A homeless encampment on San Vicente Boulevard on April 14.
(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)
Share

To the editor: U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Milan Smith Jr. is right that people living unhoused in Los Angeles are indicative of a breakdown in the social contract, but not for the reasons he claims. (“Jailing unhoused people for sleeping in public is no solution to homelessness,” Opinion, July 8)

We have the resources to end houselessness, but we must prioritize the creation of permanent supportive housing, protect the civil and human rights of people experiencing houselessness, and close the housing affordability gap.

Instead, our governments prioritize spending on law enforcement, which will never provide a solution. Indeed, in a 2015 report, the city’s administrative office showed that Los Angeles spent $100 million a year on houselessness, more than half of which went to law enforcement practices that did nothing to address root causes.

Advertisement

If our collective failure to address root causes and prevent people from falling into houselessness isn’t a plain violation of the social contract, we should write a new one.

Hector Villagra, San Gabriel

The writer is executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California.

Advertisement