How to Help the Homeless

Editorial: A fact check on Rick Caruso’s magical thinking about L.A. homelessness:

We knew things would get much worse before they got better, but we never dreamed they’d get so bad that they’ll make it a month in this city with the highest homelessness rate in the country. This is the third consecutive year this figure has been on the rise, and the second straight year that we’ve been to the edge of disaster.

It’s not just Los Angeles. The homeless crisis is now nationwide, as more people than ever before have no place to live.

No one is better suited to talk about homelessness than the man who has been called the “Dean of L.A.’s Homelessness Expert.” But when you dig deeper, you find a man who is so far off the mark, he actually thinks Los Angeles is “one of the best cities in the country to live in.”

Yes, we hear the call to help the homeless every day. But the answer is not the same for everyone, not in Los Angeles, not in this country.

Our cities matter. And not because of all the homeless people, the people who are the real victims. And certainly not because of all the social services, from services for children whose parents have died to services for senior citizens who have fallen into poverty.

We have a responsibility to this community, and to the world, to do all we can to protect and serve them.

The first step to being a good steward of the city that you call home is to understand that the people who live here are people, too. They are not numbers. They are not a problem to be solved. They are people and they deserve our respect and our compassion.

To understand that, it is important to understand the meaning of homelessness. In order to provide a useful definition of homelessness, I decided to put together a checklist of questions that I asked homeless people to answer.

What is your housing situation?

The answers to this question vary widely. I got answers ranging from a homeless shelter to a small apartment inside the city, to living in a tent.

Some people have lived in housing and not had to move. They’ve bought used

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