In essence, homelessness means that at night a person must sleep exposed on the ground. It is winter and it’s cold and raining. Right now there are 7,000 homeless people on the Westside who must spend every night outside without protection of any kind. Many in society revile homeless people in public view during the day. Many people forget what homelessness really is, which is life without a bed or a roof at night. Everyday is a struggle, every night is a nightmare.
On December 1, two 150-bed shelters opened on the Westside, one in Culver City and the other at the west Los Angeles Federal Armory. This year there are no pickup or drop off points in Santa Monica. Santa Monica claims it discontinued pickup here because homeless from out of the City would come here to be picked up, thus depriving local homeless a seat on the bus.
Now Santa Monica homeless must go to Venice or West Los Angeles for pickup. Santa Monica claims that the pickup points here are not safe because of large crowds seeking a seat on the bus. Another reason Santa Monica refused a first come first serve pickup point here is because it wanted to give preferential treatment of its own choice. Now even the City’s “most vulnerable to die” homeless will have to go out of town to get transportation to a winter shelter bed.
Today if you are a homeless citizen of Santa Monica and working with a caseworker, getting back here to meet morning appointments on time would be much harder due to distant pickup and drop off points. As a result, these people may be forced to sleep on the ground this winter.
So let’s recap the situation here on the Westside for homeless people at night, their most vulnerable time. This winter there are 300 emergency shelter beds for approximately 7000 people, or four percent of what is needed. Each shelter is a room with 150 cots one foot apart.
Ultimately civil society must be judged by how it treats its poor and most vulnerable citizens.
Organized Overnight Shelter with Caseworker Support is a concept that does provide safe, sanitary sleeping facilities with storage while linking every person to caseworker management.
Isn’t this more humane than just letting these people die on the streets from lack of nighttime shelter? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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