LA's Homeless Can Now Live Out Of Cars

Friday, June 27, 2014

A Los Angeles city ordinance that said people can't live in their cars was struck down by a federal court. Gale Holland, poverty and homelessness reporter for the Los Angeles Times, explains the reasoning behind the ruling, which held that the ordinance leads to discrimination against the poor.


Gale Holland

Comments [8]


I was also dismayed at the oil change "joke" and some other points in the program when it seemed that the guests were too casually discussing the suffering of people without homes.

In recent years I watched a relative experience a series of setbacks that resulted in homelessness. Shelter life was not safe for this person nor was sleeping in their car - they tried both. Thankfully, another relative allowed them to stay for two month long windows of time until they were able to find an affordable place. I can not begin to describe the suffering experienced by all involved. I can't even imagine how others survive these situations long term, particularly when they don't have employment, struggle with mental illness, addiction, and/ don't have any support.

Jun. 30 2014 08:49 PM
Eugenia Renskoff from New York City

Hi, I have been homeless and in many ways I still feel homeless. It is a sad life, to say the least. Being homeless, not being able to take a shower when you need and want to, sleeping however and wherever you can does terrible things to your sense of well being and self respect. You don't recognize yourself anymore.Homelessness must cease to exist. You want to escape it anyway you can and sometimes that way becomes yet another burden. Kindness from strangers is often the only good thing that happens on any given day. Unkindness makes a bright day go completely dark. Eugenia Renskoff

Jun. 27 2014 02:05 PM
Chris from Manhattan

Did you know Utah has been quietly working to eradicate homelessness, and they will have NO homeless in Utah by end of 2015

Jun. 27 2014 11:06 AM
martha r from greenpoint

I am glad you are discussing homelessness but disappointed by the casualness and ignorant bantering you initiated about California homeless people sleeping in their cars. Ha ha, panhandling for oil change? Ha ha ha.
Your callers and first (not second) commenter above remind you that we are talking about people. I want to remind you that a car is the best route to being able to get a job, should there be any hope of that, in places like LA. … And no city has seriously tried to solve the homelessness problem, least of all LA.
I am embarrassed for you and your listeners that you allowed yourself to host a discussion with such a clearly expressed lack of information on your own part. Your producers need to help you become informed about issues regarding distressed populations, even when they are in our imaginary rival city, LA.
The second commenter, from New Jersey, believes that sleeping in a car is comparable to a license to steal. The absurdity of this overdrawn comparison I take as an indicator of those whose idea is: Yes, we have a large group of people in the country (and here in NY, of course… largest it's ever been recorded) in dire need of housing, but it's such a great problem we "should" solve it, but meanwhile let's make life as hard as possible for them, even to withdrawing the right to do what everyone else with a car can do, namely, use at will with no negatives toward others. After all, they "lurk." That's called demonization, substituting for any serious concern.
I hope you will have more discussions of homelessness, with people who know more than the primitive discussion I've just heard.

Jun. 27 2014 10:59 AM
Estelle from Brooklyn

Years ago I read George Orwell's "Down and Out in London and Paris." I don't remember the specifics, but he described how the homeless in England were forced to move from place to place because they couldn't stay in shelters for more than a night. This seems to be an obstacle to finding work and getting out of homelessness.

Jun. 27 2014 10:49 AM
jon young from Staten Island

Are there no Walmart parking lots?

Jun. 27 2014 10:48 AM
Fishmael from NYC

One reason that the problem of homelessness "never gets solved" is that it is a symptom. So many of these problems flow down from the basic reality of poverty. When was the last time you heard any political party use that word - and yet, aren't we surrounded by it?

In the meantime, while people are still lacking education, work and integration into society, and while market real-estate forces trump the "social contract"(as in this Venice Beach story), we're looking at band-aid solutions, at best.

Jun. 27 2014 10:44 AM
Shawn from NJ

Here Brian, use this when you open your talk about the homeless. I think the problem needs to be broken down into groups. Families vs individuals. And acute vs chronic homelessness.

For people in families, the three most commonly cited causes, according to a 2008 U.S. Conference of Mayors study are:
Lack of affordable housing

For individuals, the three most commonly cited causes of homelessness are:
Substance abuse
Lack of affordable housing
Mental illness

There are TONS of data out there that support the fact that chronically homeless people have some major medical issues, either drug/alcohol addiction, or mental illness. When you look at the CHRONICALLY homeless, the numbers skyrocket to 50% with mental illness/addiction. These are easily researchable facts using Google.

These aren't people who are camping out for fun. These aren't people who for the most part are on the street by choice. Whether by financial constraint or by mental illness, these choices are made for them.

So the questions then, after having better defined the group of people who are homeless, are Should we allow a group that is possibly dangerous to themselves or others to bunk wherever they choose? And should the rights of one person supersede the rights of the masses?

We need to fix the problem, obviously. But saying that they can sleep wherever they want is like saying that "a person on hard times financially can steal. It's justified, because we ignored the problem of their poverty and so we should let the rules slide." Well, I don't agree with that. And I think many people out there are voices their agreement.

Jun. 27 2014 09:40 AM

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