The homeless population in Los Angeles has risen dramatically in the past year, it is growing in NYC too. In fact, the homeless population has risen across the country. Based on this particular Administrations disdain for their fellow man, it will get worse before it gets better.
We were downtown about a month ago and drove through Skid Row. Skid Row is an area in downtown Los Angeles that is filled with homeless people living in tents on the streets. I was shocked by how much it has grown since I was there a year ago. At a glance, it appears that most of the people living there have mental illness issues and some serious drug problems. It is heartbreaking to see this. How can a wealthy society ignore this issue?
One thing is certain, is that the attempts to solve this issue aren’t working. Throwing money at social services is not working. There isn’t enough housing and there isn’t a big enough net to help these people even if you put a roof over their head. They need to get to a place where they actually want a roof. Granted, not everyone wants a roof and who are we to dictate that people with mental issues need to be on drugs to help regulate their brains but I have to believe that most people who get to sound mind and body want to feel safe, have a bed to sleep in, want to be connected to some community and want to get up every day with a purpose to feel good about themselves. How do we make that happen for those in need?
As we become a more automated world, and a bigger divide between those who have and have-not, our country is going to have to really think about new ways to help those in need. Where can we build communities that are clean, safe and have deep social programs to help families or mentally challenged people. The low-income housing of the past is not the answer. Mental hospitals are not the answer.
Is it time to build new cities in sparse areas with services from education to jobs that can be there or outsourced to these areas from other places. Medical facilities that are pro-active vs reactive. There are economic benefits to helping the homeless if done properly and reconceived from the past.
Who in the start-up community is thinking about this as a profit opportunity vs another decade of poor Government under-capitalized band-aids for the homeless population? There just has to be a better way.