60 Gallons Per Homeless

I appreciate how difficult it is to solve the problem of homelessness. I understand that streets needs to be clean, and that businesses have a right to have unencumbered sidewalks so that customers can freely come and go, but I also understand that the homeless are people, many with mental health issues, illnesses, often people who would rather be somewhere else than on the street when it’s cold, or raining, or just to have a spot somewhere they can call home. Los Angeles County has the largest homeless population nationally, 44,000, about half of whom are in the city of Los Angeles (Los Angeles County is made up of 88 municipalities). By way of handling the problem of homelessness, the City of Los Angeles had been conducting sweeps on Skid Row and surrounding areas confiscating the possessions of the homeless, sometimes even including their medications and identification papers. An advocate even built tiny homes for them, and the 2 that were installed (there were to be 6 more) were demolished. As a result of protests and advocacy, the city council late in March passed a law setting limits on the belongings of the homeless. In order to keep the sidewalks clear, they can only have what would fit within a 60 gallon container with the lid closed –say a trash bin. The new law says that tents or temporary shelters must be removed between 6am and 9pm unless the temperature falls below 50 degrees. Those who do not comply can be cited or arrested. The city has recently approved a plan to spend a $100 million on homeless services and $2 billion over the next 10 years, and the County’s plan to spend another $150 million. How to find that money however, has not yet been found nor agreed upon. To the council who voted for this measure, (13 to1), it is temporary until other plans can be implemented. The fact remains that homelessness continues to be criminalized. But to compound the harm, injustice is added, for the idea of limiting the amount of one’s possessions seems to belong to a dictatorship and in the case of the homeless cruel. Would the council members, the business owners who were behind the enactment of this law, or any other group, favor a limit on their possessions? I keep wondering how would I fit my possessions in a 60 gallon trash bin?