Boyle Height

a vacant lot in Boyle Heights, on April 6, 2017, where a nonprofit developer wants to build housing for homeless people and low-income veterans and families. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

It was revealed recently that there are now 42,000 homeless sleeping rough in NZ which has a population of 4.7 million.  According to the Los Angeles Times, the total in L.A. County — which includes 88 municipal councils with a total population of 10.17 million — is 47,000; thus half the rate in NZ.

L.A. is a big impersonal city full of neurotic, self-centered people, but it still does more for the down-and-outs than NZ does.

City voters have made it clear that they want to house homeless people. Last November, they approved Proposition HHH bond money that will build as many as 10,000 units of permanent supportive housing for homeless people across the city over the course of a decade.

Middle class people tend not to like low socio-economic types near them, and creating concentrated ghettos of them creates its own problems as we have seen in Britain and France.  But doing nothing isn’t human. We need a package of enlightened measures that will not just provide the Band Aid, but overcome the causes.

It’s another question to quiz the parliamentary candidates on. But local government also has a part to play.  In a post on 7 December 2015, Cr David Scott told us:

Currently there are 98 over-65’s with health issues and doctor letters who do not have a satisfactory roof over their heads. They are on the crisis housing list for the elderly in our area.

We have to do something about this situation. The building of an “Abbeyfield Home” would be a help. I have raised the issue at every planning meeting of council but we need four other councillors to acknowledge the problem and deal with it. Some of us councillors will raise the problem at the annual plan meetings early next year and, God willing, we will help those less fortunate in their old age who are suffering.