Morning Brief: LA’s Black Unhoused Crisis, The Cold, Speeding In LA
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Good morning, L.A. It’s Feb. 23.
It’s plainly disproportionate. And painfully disquieting.
Black people make up 8% of L.A.’s total population and 34% of the city’s unhoused community.
The latter statistic, pulled from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority’s 2020 point-in-time homeless count, should give pause. The numerical disparity is wide and the causes behind it are many.
Melina Abdullah, a co-founder of the L.A. chapter of Black Lives Matter, told my colleague Ethan Ward about one of the major factors: funding. She’s enraged by the ease with which the city will allocate billions of dollars to the city’s police budget while shorting services for the unhoused.
“We can solve homelessness with half that budget,” Abdullah said.
This year, L.A. will spend $801 million on the homelessness crisis, while increasing the LAPD’s budget, which was roughly $3 billion last year, by 12%.
But even beyond the bills, the source of the problem sits elsewhere on paper, right in the history books.
Mark Vestal, the co-author of the 2021 UCLA Luskin Center for History and Policy report, “Making of a Crisis: The History of Homelessness in L.A.,” says a century of racist housing policy prevented Black Angelenos from getting ahead and fairly accessing the path to homeownership.
“The Great Depression sets us up for the system we have today,” Vestal said. “Black folks were segregated in inner cities and subject to predatory mortgage markets and home buying schemes that continued to suck Black dollars and wealth from bank accounts for decades.”
And the above injustices only cover some of the bases behind the crisis. A crisis that is a perpetuation of an inhumane cycle experienced by Black Americans since this country was founded. A crisis that is ever-evident for anyone who lives here and has eyes.
“People haven’t cared about Black men living in squalor until we saw them in their communities living in squalor,” Veronica Lewis, the director of the Homeless Outreach Program Integrated Care System (HOPICS) said. “Every time I go downtown, the sea of Black mens’ faces is so heartbreaking.”
I’ll be the first to say that a newsletter’s length will sell this reporting short — read Ethan Ward’s full article right here.
Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A. today.
What Else You Need To Know Today
- We all have places to be. And we all may have to allot a bit more time to get there, as L.A. is one step closer to possible citywide speed limit decreases.
- For the first time in two years, the Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count is taking place. In 2020, there were roughly 66,000 members of the unhoused community counted.
- Last week, DA George Gascón changed some of his key policies regarding juveniles in the criminal justice system. He explained the decision in a recent statement.
- We, too, heard about all the twos on Tuesday. And so did the most famous Frenchmen to don helmets since the Knights of Joan of Arc — Daft Punk. Watch their 2/22/22 surprise, a livestream of the duo’s 1997 show at L.A.’s Mayan Theater.
- You know what’s definitely not at all unsettling? The government having an extensive facial recognition database. But if that isn’t your bag, you can opt-out of an IRS program that requires a selfie for identity verification.
Before You Go...Temperamental Temperatures And Diving Snow Lines
On my morning walk, an ever-appropriate song began rebounding between my temples. The Neighborhood’s “Sweater Weather.” And, more specifically, the song’s hook:
“It’s too cold for you here.”
Despite growing up in the Northeast, my blood has gotten thinner than Crystal Light, and I am, quite literally, shook by the current chill throughout the region. Certain local mountains can expect snow, and Coastal L.A. will see highs in the 50s through Wednesday. No thank you.
Michael John Mammone, 58, was riding his bicycle Wednesday along Pacific Coast Highway in Dana Point when he was assaulted.
Please don't hurt yourself.
Anthony Lowe was shot and killed by Huntington Park police on Jan. 26. 'Thank goodness that we’re in the era of videos,' said the family attorney as they file a federal civil rights lawsuit
The mountain lion's death comes about a month after the beloved P-22 was euthanized.
With two hikers still missing — one the well-known actor Julian Sands — expert mountaineers say the usual scarcity of snow in the L.A.-area makes it especially hard to get enough experience to safely venture out in harsh conditions.
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