Tuesday October 29 the City of Lake Forest will be holding the first meeting in a series called ‘Lake Forest Listens.’ The meeting will allow residents and city staff to discuss homelessness and actions towards the Arbors.
The Arbors trellis in Lake Forest has become a hot spot of contempt for residents. A homeless encampment has been found in The Arbors walkway and the city is trying to find the best solutions within their guidelines.
Some Lake Forest residents are back-lashing in online forums against the encampment at The Arbors. Photos of unsheltered people sleeping, captioned with snide and angry comments, removing unsheltered peoples personal items and remarks including “send them to jail,” have popped up in forums.
Laws concerning homelessness
In 2018 a constitutional law was passed stating it is illegal to jail someone for sleeping outside if the proper shelter is not available.
Many South Orange County cities are facing litigation over their lack of action or blocking solutions to resolving homelessness.
Lake Forest currently has no shelters and Lake Forest City Council supports overturning the law.
According to the Lake Forest Homeless Resources page, “The Lake Forest City Council in August directed the City Attorney to file a “friend of the court” brief in support of the City of Boise, which has petitioned the United States Supreme Court to overturn the decision.”
Last year, 2018 Lake Forest Mayor Dr. Jim Gardner reported on Patch ” A large homeless shelter is not needed in Lake Forest. We do need to find better ways to house homeless people, but a homeless shelter is not the answer.”
Stereotypes & statistics
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development 2018 report states that nearly half of homeless people in the Unites States live in California.
According to NPR the estimates of unsheltered people with jobs are not uncommon.
Homelessness as a systemic issue
Homelessness is a symptom from a lack of action on systemic issues. The entire country is facing what is now dubbed the “homeless crises” and is now seeing that money alone won’t fix it. This oversight has failed the already marginalized population.
California Governor Gavin Newsome denies the systemic issues of homelessness and blames high rents and poverty.
Growing inflation paired with unstable and unmatched wages , gentrification and virtually non-existent job benefits are contributors to homelessness.
UCLA published a mapping tool showing gentrification in Southern California has forced long time residents out of their homes.
The unseen systemic faults subsidizing homelessness are a lack of programs to truly address mental health, PTSD, drug abuse and recidivism and wage equality.
California under pressure for lack of action
Many news outlets have called attention to California’s mishandling of homelessness.
California’s 2018 state audit said ” California is doing a poor job of sheltering the nation’s largest homeless population and needs to provide statewide leadership to address the problem.”
CalMatters.org broke down data surrounding homelessness in CA, showing there is no real plan to end homelessness.
Vice wrote California is hiding homeless people.
Forbes Michael Shellenberger wrote, “I left the reporting for this column surprised by how stuck California’s leaders remain in 1960s ideology and how slow they’ve been to react to the crisis. ”
Understanding from a ground level
While cities, states and the country work towards figuring out what to do, as a citizen you have power to help as well. Humans all like to be treated equally. When you see an unsheltered person don’t attempt to embarrass them or snap photos of them. If they are panhandling simply say no. If you want to give, then do so.