Friday, March 17, 2006

LA's Homeless

There are a lot of homeless people in LA. According to recent LAPD statistics, on the night of February 21st, there were 1,354 homeless people around the Skid Row area, as well as 303 boxes, 216 tarps and 187 camping tents. On a given night, the LA Homeless Services Authority says the county's homeless population is around 82,000. See Downtown News.

Apparently, this makes LA the city with the biggest homeless problem in the country. Mayor Villaraigosa recently met with the White House homeless czar, Phil Mangano, to find some solution. See Daily News. No detailed plan has come of it, but at least they're trying to figure it out.

I think the homeless in LA are different. They push shopping carts overflowing with their belongings and are more aggressive. In NYC, the homeless ask for money, but here they do that and sometimes follow you. At red lights, they will walk between the lanes and come up to your car window. Granted, only a few of them are actually menacing and dangerous, but they seem far more active and aggressive than in other cities. Perhaps LA's car culture is part of the reason. It can be very isolating here. Everyone drives a car and you can easily go for days, if you want, without talking to anyone. That can make anyone crazy...


hh said...

they're especially aggressive at the crazy virgil/silverlake/beverly intersection, have you noticed? oh and at wilshire/san vicente...another busy tricky intersection. if i were homeless perons in LA, i think i'd hang out at the beach.

Anonymous said...

for some whatever reason NYC has the nicest homelees people anywhere - in LA they are nasty and agressive and in Washinton DC they are even worse. As my friend said last time we were there "We'll be surly and we'll get nothing!". I don't think it's car culture - I believe it's more of a random sociological event. My guess is that the super agressive homeless in DC and LA probably treat each other even worse. I'm sure there has been multiple murders for taking trash from another persons spot but this stuff just isn't very newsworthy

chanchow said...

There is definitely homeless violence in LA. Someone told me that his friend died of stab wounds from a homeless person. The friend was coming off his shift waiting tables and the homeless guy killed him for his tips.

I don't really know what it is that makes the homeless in LA extra aggressive. Just today, I was driving to work and some homeless dude was shouting FUCK YOU at the cars passing by.

Octopus Grigori said...

Well, I have to say, if I were homeless in L.A., shipped into Skid Row on a van from some other part of town, I'd probably be feeling a little aggressive. Especially if I was stranded on a median watching people zip by in their Aston Martins. I guess I could get a job, but then there would be that whole problem about being totally insane.

The anger is probably exacerbated by the lack of contact and utter isolation of being in a city with no pedestrian traffic. At least in New York there are always people around, just as, for the pedestrian, there are always the homeless around, on the same sidewalk and subway platform.

hh said... my dad is a patient at that bellflower kaiser. :(

i felt like there were way more homeless people in san francisco (everywhere) than the pockets of them in LA. but that's also because i was walking and pub trans-ing vs. driving. i can't say if they were more aggressive or not though. maybe not...and prob for the reason ron suggested.