The Whittier Daily News has a story out about the Metro Board is struggling to come to grips with the fact that much of the Los Angeles transit system is an open air homeless shelter and insane asylum–except without the support services. And that the problem is only getting worse.
What the article doesn’t quite explain is what Metro employees are actually able to do about the problem–and where the line is between what Metro should reasonably do to keep its fare paying customers safe relative to where we, as a society, may need to be less accommodating of homelessness in general.
To quote the WDN article, “Metro teams have engaged with 1,539 homeless individuals on the Red Line and Union Station from May 22, 2017 to Jan. 5, 2018. Of those, 464 were placed into some form of housing.”
How were these people convinced to move into housing? What housing? Did they stay there long? Are they still there? Who paid for this housing? How were these homeless defined–and are they they scary / psychotic homeless, or those with open sores, which are the real problem on the system?
Presumably the homeless and mentally ill who are the real problem don’t leave the system because they don’t want to, are filthy and often have violent tendencies. Meanwhile, LASD and LAPD personnel won’t do much about them for fear of ending up on the evening news or being undercut by their bosses.
Nobody wants homeless all over the Metro system making customers scared and depressing ridership. But don’t we need to draw a line between what the taxpayers are expected to pay for and where we simply say certain behaviors aren’t allowed?
As this blog recently pointed out (and the article does, as well), many area homeless aren’t even from Southern California. Someone put them on a bus headed toward sunshine and palm trees and they either decided to stay or don’t have the means/wherewithal to go back. Is it Metro’s job, or our collective obligation as taxpayers, to find all these people homes?