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California--once renowned for luscious beaches, bikini-clad babes, and surfer bros--is now a third-world hell-scape. The state lurches from one crisis to another--whether budgetary collapse, endemic gang warfare, wildfires, or antifa riots.
But one less spectacular problem has been festering almost unnoticed: rampant homelessness. Los Angeles has become America's Calcutta. It is truly sad to see how far the Golden State has fallen, and in such a short time.
And now, Hollywood. As we all know, Hollywood is located in Los Angeles, which has its peculiarities. Hollywood is usually associated with glamor and glitter. But in fact, the biggest and richest metropolis in the American West is very different.
Denis Davydov with the details from Los Angeles.
This is the exact center of Los Angeles, the city council building and the police department across the road. Police officers can clearly see the scale of the disaster from their office windows. Here are the rows of homeless people's tents.
Office workers in expensive suits casually walk by the flies, the stench, and those who hit rock bottom. Over the four years he's been homeless, Philip's gotten used to indifference. He's an archeologist who lost his job after getting sick and couldn't pay his mortgage.
“Bank representatives and two ushers told me that I had 30 days to move out of my house. 30 days later, they came back and kicked me out onto the street. That's America. It's all about the banks here. Until they get their last payment, they can take your house at any time. That's capitalism.”
The number of homeless in California is growing, along with housing prices. It's tripled over the past ten years. Officially, there are 60,000 hobos in Los Angeles and 500,000 in all of America. One in four American hobos lives in California. Homeless people using bonfires to heat up their food caused awful fires last year. They have flooded the suburbs and streets of big cities. In Los Angeles, the homeless have occupied the entire Skid Row district. Syringes are scattered everywhere here, and the crime rate is off the charts.
Police officers who respond to an emergency in Skid Row, Los Angeles, risk getting shot, stabbed, or even infected. Officers who were patrolling the streets of LA got diagnosed with typhus. Doctors sound the alarm on all federal channels.
“Some experts say that bubonic plague may already be here. Three cases of typhus; one confirmed, another two probable. That's unbelievable. I can't believe it. This is not even third-world country level, this is medieval. The entire population is in danger.”
The local news show piles of trash and rats that spread the infection around the city. A city council lawyer got infected with typhus at her office.
“Who gets infected with typhus? That's a medieval disease caused by rotting garbage.”
Liz Greenwood is now suing the city council. She estimated the typhus compensation at five million dollars. The city council is rapidly cleaning the streets. However, the homeless' tents are still there and so are the rats.
- Have you seen rats?
- Hundreds. Every night. Let me show you. Come on over here. See that pipe behind the tents?
They're everywhere downtown. Philip didn't invite us in. His tent's not too spacious. It's his bedroom, kitchen, and bathroom (simple water bottles). There are only eight public restrooms in their area and 4,000 hobos living in tents.
- I have to move my tent elsewhere because this place is getting disinfected.
- How often do you have to move?
- Every two weeks. Every Thursday, I pack my stuff, go to some other street, and look for a spot to set up my tent.
Lou's been a vagabond for 30 years. He moved to California from the neighboring state of Arizona. For people like Lou, Los Angeles has a milder climate and milder laws.
Omar Navarro, Congressional candidate: "Every state tries to send its homeless to California because California supports them."
Politician Omar Navarro says that according to local law, a homeless person has a right to own a tent. Mentally unstable hobos aren't to be touched by the police and there are about 500,000 of them among the homeless. The psychiatric care program has been canceled in the States. Patients were kicked out of asylums into the street. The LA city council allocates hundreds of millions of dollars per year to resolve the homeless issue. But looking at the city streets, one can't say the money's being spent effectively.
Omar Navarro: “In Los Angeles, Mayor Eric Garcetti adopted an additional sales tax. You know what happened to this tax? The homeless aren't getting that money. It's being used to create new city council jobs.”
Seeing the idle authorities, social activists began acting on their own. Various NGOs build homes for the homeless.
“55 here and 99 apartments here.”
An NGO manager shows us the new crowd-funded houses. It's not too big or cozy, but it's a room that has a toilet, a shower, and clean sheets. Tenants pay a symbolic monthly rent of 50-100 dollars.
Monique Davis, NGO leader: "90% of those people stay in the houses and decide to move on. They find a job and resume contact with their families."
And here's another organization helping the homeless return to normal lives. Free meals, accommodation, and medical care. They even help them find a job.
Ivan Klassen, CEO of Los Angeles Mission: "You can't be doing drugs or drinking alcohol. They have to take regular tests. If they come back positive, they have to leave the program. We don't have fights here, you can't just hit somebody. That'll be the end of the program for you."
These are charity programs, primarily funded by Hollywood studios and movie stars. Los Angeles is trying its best to clear its name. It's not like anyone wants to see the City of Angels become the City of Hobos.
This post first appeared on Russia Insider
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