Recent reports showed that the more LA taxpayers spent fighting homelessness, the worse it got. This is the exact opposite of the results desired. There is no reason to think it’s any different here.
In order to be able to enforce ordinances prohibiting camping in public spaces, there has to be an alternative sleeping location for people who are homeless. This isn’t a mandate to provide housing that costs more than a condo for each client served.
There’s no legal requirement for taxpayers to support the burgeoning industry forming around, “The Homeless Problem.” The only requirement is a legal safe place to sleep.
Campgrounds would work well. The book “Grapes of Wrath” depicted actual government camps serving refugees forced off of farms during the Great Depression. These camps were maintained and run by the residents with minimum investment from the government. They were cheap and effective.
Our present approach is expensive and ineffective. The facilities we’re buying won’t work. They are based on an institutional approach that separates people from their companions, their pets, and their possessions. A lot like Jail-Lite. These facilities will most benefit the developers who’ll build them and the professionals who’ll staff them.
Imagine you’ve got issues. They’re partly under control through self-medication. You’ve found a companion. The two of you are working on both your issues together. Thor, the pitbull, is your fur baby. It’s a family. You all live in a tent, in the canyon brush.
One morning somebody wearing an official vest shows up knocking on your tent’s door. You can’t stay. You are breaking the law. It is time to move. They’re offering space in a shelter.
You and your companion won’t be allowed to sleep together. Thor goes to the pound. There’s no room for all your stuff. Drugs, smoking, and drinking aren’t allowed.
You will get a mat on the floor. It’s crowded close together with loud and crazy strangers. There are people constantly asking prying questions and telling you what to do. You can’t stay during the day. Would you willingly go there?
A safe campground, where folks can keep their lives, is a reasonable alternative. Tents have been home to folks for thousands of years. They do need to be in legal campgrounds with sanitary facilities and supervision.
There are no campgrounds now because there is no money in them for those earning as much money as they can fighting the war on homelessness, without actually winning it.
Where could we establish a campground in Laguna? Crystal Cove, perhaps?
J.J. Gasparotti moved to Laguna Beach with his family when he was 11 years old. He has loved it ever since.