While driving around the west side of Los Angeles, we came across a homeless woman moving all of her belongings to the sidewalk. We thought that maybe they were cleaning the area, but to our shock, LA Sanitation pulled up and started to load everything that this woman owned into a garbage truck. In the last three months, Holly has had all of her belongings taken eight times.
Holly once had a great job, but after going through a divorce, her life snowballed into homelessness. Holly keeps applying for jobs, but no one wants to hire a homeless person.
We all want clean streets. We all want homeless encampments gone. But homeless sweeps and the ongoing criminalization of homelessness only make homelessness worse. With homeless numbers growing, we need to get people off the streets into housing and the help they need. We cannot arrest our way out of homelessness. In each area, a homeless sweep displaces homeless people without providing them a place to go; in a day or two, tents and shacks return to that spot.