Los Angeles Meanest City for Homeless

Thursday, July 16, 2009
Skid Row, Los Angeles (photo: The Southern California Inquisitor)

The City of Angels is not where you want to be if you’re homeless, according to a new report by the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty and the National Coalition for the Homeless. The advocacy groups say cities across America are increasingly cracking down on people who have no place to live—none more so than Los Angeles. L.A. ranked as the “meanest” of all cities after taking into account a variety of factors, including the number of anti-homeless laws a city has, its enforcement of those laws, the local political climate toward homeless people, and the city’s history of criminalization measures.

Los Angeles’ persistent effort to crack down on people in the Skid Row part of town was cited in the report, which noted the city was spending $6 million a year for 50 extra police officers to clear out homeless individuals while it allocated only $5.7 million annually for homeless services. LAPD officers were also accused of using excessive force in their anti-homeless efforts.
Top Ten Meanest Cities:
1. Los Angeles
2. St. Petersburg
3. Orlando
4. Atlanta
5. Gainesville
6. Kalamazoo
7. San Francisco
8. Honolulu
9. Bradenton
10. Berkeley
The report also gave praise to some cities for creating programs that help homeless citizens find housing and jobs, rather than arresting them. These included Daytona Beach, Cleveland and Portland, Oregon.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Increase in Laws Criminalizing Homelessness (National Coalition for the Homeless)
Homes Not Handcuffs: The Criminalization of Homelessness in U.S. Cities (The National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty and the National Coalition for the Homeless) (PDF)


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