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L.A. Ranked the 'Meanest City' toward Homeless, Mayor's Office Says it's Wrong

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A report released yesterday ranked Los Angeles number one out of 273 cities for the treatment of homeless populations. "Homes Not Handcuffs: The Criminalization of Homelessness in U.S. Cities" by the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty and the National Coalition for the Homeless highlights the Safer Cities Initiative--which has spent $6 million on extra police in Skid Row--as a program that traps homeless in the criminal justice system rather than housing.

"We've been saying that the purpose of this policing is to target the poor and homeless and not necessarily crime in this community," Anat Rubin of Lamp Community, a homeless housing organization, told the Daily News. "The policing has criminalized both poverty and homelessness and targeted behaviors that are often symptoms of homelessness and mental disabilities."

But Mayor Villaraigosa's office carries a different tune. "[The report] fails to detail the city's housing-first strategy, which reflects national-best practices for housing and services that help homeless individuals stay off the streets," said Villaraigosa spokesman to the paper. "And the assertion that Los Angeles criminalizes homelessness is simply false."

Also: The ACLU yesterday slammed Santa Monica for their treatment of homeless yesterday when they filed a civil rights lawsuit against the city.

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