California is trying to house the homeless through a health insurance program. It worked for this man, or in his case, it didn’t.
Karen is a homeless woman who lives in California’s Downtown LA District. When she became homeless she started sleeping on a bench in front of a bank next to the Hollywood & Highland Shopping Center, just blocks from her apartment. She slept in the same spot every night and never had any money for food or rent and she could see no way to make money as a prostitute.
She had been sleeping here for four months and she was one of the only people to be living in this part of Downtown LA. She used to use the store bathrooms, but after one of the bathrooms flooded for months, she was told the restroom was no longer usable. She spent the mornings, as a consequence of the flooding, walking to the West Hollywood St. Vincent De Paul facility for a shower and to wash the stench off of herself. She was not allowed to use the restroom in the West Hollywood St. Vincent De Paul. In fact, in order to use the restroom at the West Hollywood St. Vincent De Paul, she had to go through the doorless door to the bathroom and then walk to the showers.
The West Hollywood St. Vincent De Paul is an old building that has been converted into a medical facility. It is also a public facility and Karen was told that she could not stay in the building if she used the bathroom there. In fact, the West Hollywood St. Vincent De Paul building has no bathroom within the building. The idea was that she could take the bus, or ride her bike, or take a cab and go to the nearby homeless shelter in Santa Monica for the day in order to clean up, but this did not work.
Karen was told that because that there was no facility within the building, she would be allowed to stay there, but she was not. Karen’s story is repeated over and over again in Los Angeles. She is told that there is a facility within the building that will house people and, in fact, the only people who can stay in the facility are medically discharged, homeless people who have stabilized and can live in an environment that is as clean and sanitary as possible.
It is true that the homeless in Los Angeles receive treatment and are cared for. They receive services and assistance and they even receive legal representation. But if