A councilman of the city of Los Angeles, Joe Buscaino, wishes for the homeless to stop trying to build themselves homes. This may sound insane, but it’s completely true. Homeless people in the neighborhood of San Pedro in Los Angeles have built tiny homes to use as shelter. However, their shelter is being impeded by councilman Buscaino, who is planning to attempt to remove these people from their newly built homes. The report can be found here.
What Joe Buscaino is doing, is telling the volunteers that built the tiny homes for the homeless, that they wasted their precious time helping those who need it the most, and throwing the homeless back on the streets. According to Dennis Gleason, Buscaino’s policy director, ‘It’s not fair to let public spaces be used by only a small segment of the population and allow those spaces to be taken over,’ However, since these public spaces are places which homeless people would sleep near anyway, why impede them from creating shelter for themselves?
According to Nora Vera, who volunteered by helping to build three tiny houses for the homeless in San Pedro, states that ‘There is no transitional housing in San Pedro. The only way you can get into housing is if you’re mentally ill,’ So, instead of kicking the homeless out of their makeshift homes, why not change the criteria for receiving shelter in San Pedro? This shows how uncaring and unethical councilman Joe Buscaino is about handling this situation.
Not only are the homes more comfortable to sleep in than a tent or on the street, it is much safer and cleaner. If these people were to sleep on the street, they could be robbed for their belongings, kidnapped, harmed by weather, or assaulted. Along with this, the homes give the homeless a sense of hope they did not think they could receive. If Joe Buscaino kicks them out of their homes, all hope will be lost.
If these people are kicked out of their homes by councilman Buscaino’s policy, where would they go? There are no services available in San Pedro for the mentally healthy, so therefore, they will have to sleep on the streets, where they will make pedestrians uncomfortable and potentially cause legal drama. All in all, Buscaino’s policy not only proves his immorality, but also his ignorance, as he states in the LA Times’ report that ‘These shacks are not the solution to end homelessness in our city,’ Buscaino said, arguing that the city needs more permanent supportive housing. The councilman said that the people building the homes have good intentions, but the sheds “ultimately will become nuisances.” While he is arguing that the city needs more permanent supportive housing, it is uncertain whether or not he would ultimately do anything about the problem, as according to this quote, he might only attempt to get rid of the tiny housing.
Another example of Buscaino’s ignorance was created when he stated to the LA Times that the tiny homes are ‘a threat in many ways to our public safety.’, while sharing no explanation as to what makes them a threat to public safety. Even if they were a public safety issue, putting these people back on the street isn’t going to solve anything. Therefore, councilman Buscaino should, instead of kicking people out of their only signs of hope, do something positive and get them the assistance that they need and deserve.