MacArthur Park long had a reputation as an unsavory place. But due to the efforts of community groups in the Westlake Neighborhood – not the government – it was coming back up.
The gang problem had been almost eliminated and by 2018 there were almost no homeless people living in the park. People felt safe walking around and enjoying the park during daytime hours. It was actually a beautiful place with a large lake and fountain and a stunning view of downtown Los Angeles.
That came to an end in 2020. Not long after the lockdowns and mass unemployment began, MacArthur park became a massive homeless encampment. Many of these were the newly homeless. Beside their tents were refrigerators, mattresses, sofas and other furniture they had dragged from their apartments when they became unable to pay their rent. Possessions they hoped they would still have once they were able to get a new home.
The city came along and cleared them all out of the park. As you can see, it didn’t last long.
It’s a tragedy. The living conditions are unthinkable for both the homeless and those unfortunate enough to live in the neighborhood. In fact the area looks more like Venezuela, Cuba or another third world communistic country than one of the fifty states in America.
It’s also a testimony to how corrupt the government in California has become. Los Angeles approved $100 million of the taxpayers money to provide housing for the homeless during the pandemic. It was called Project Roomkey. The goal was to utilize the hotel room that were sitting empty due to the quarantine to house the homeless.
The money got spent. The homeless didn’t get housed.
In November 2020 an additional $62 million was authorized. This time old hotels were to be converted into permanent housing units for the homeless.
Once again the money is getting spent, but the homeless aren’t getting housed. On projects where there is progress, costs are running between $500,000 to nearly one million dollars per unit to construct. Many of these are old hotels that are being converted. Costs should only be a tiny fraction of that!
The long term solution to homelessness isn’t to build more housing on the taxpayers dime, or to create more welfare programs. You get what you reward. Politicians that buy votes by promising to give people free things contribute heavily to the problem. When people are rewarded for not working, they don’t work.
We’ve seen that during the lockdowns. Many found they actually made more money drawing the umemployment with the extra money tacked on to the checks by the government than they did working. When their employers found ways for them to return to work, many were unwilling to do so.
The number of homeless is in direct ratio to the amount of corruption between business and government. Yes, drug addiction and alcoholism put many on the streets. But we have to ask, why is the drug problem getting so much worse despite spending billions on our war on drugs? Could it be that the people receiving that money didn’t do their jobs? Did the money simply line the pockets of the politicians and their buddies the way it did with Project Roomkey?
Statistics show that seventy five percent of the homeless in Los Angeles became homeless because they were priced out of their homes by skyrocketing rents and declining wages. Once again we’re looking at corruption. If politicians weren’t making backroom deals to help their buddies at the expense of the people they are suppose to represent we wouldn’t see the spread between the cost of living and wages get wider each month. And each time it grows wider, more people are forced onto the streets.
If the various regulatory bodies that monitor the finances of the banking system, the stock market, the housing market and so on were doing their jobs instead of lining their pockets with backroom deals, economic conditions wouldn’t continually worsen.
The conditions we see here in MacArthur Park and elsewhere around Los Angeles and San Francisco are a huge warning to the nation. If we as individuals don’t take an active role in our communities, if we don’t get involved and demand accountability and RESULTS from our elected officials, this will be the fate of the entire nation.
Note: MacArthur Park isn’t the only area overtaken by the homeless in Los Angeles. See our post on how the same has occurred in Echo Park and our video of how the world famous Venice Boardwalk and the Hollywood Walk of Fame have also become homeless encampments.
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