Homelessness is a public health issue

An article by Kerry Jackson at City Journal pulls together recent articles on homelessness in California and the public health issues that it raises:

Now California is home to a public-health crisis. This one is no act of God, though, but rather the inevitable result of tolerating unsanitary conditions. Diseases, some bringing to mind medieval times, have returned to urban streets. Typhus, carried by infected fleas and transmitted by rats and other animals, plagues Los Angeles. Hepatitis A, spread through fecal matter, has sickened more than 1,000 people in Southern California since 2017. A “trash and rodent nightmare” threatens downtown Los Angeles. There’s “a mountain of rotting, oozing, stinking trash” that stretches “a good 20 yards along a skid row alley,” where “rats popped their heads out of the debris like they were in a game of Whac-A-Mole.”

The garbage and disease outbreaks are closely linked.

The author notes that the current crisis can be in large part laid at the feet of progressive, one-party governance that cannot bring itself to take measures necessary to enforce public hygiene:

Today, they value political correctness, protecting the interests of the homeless over pedestrians. Their policies have produced appalling conditions in urban neighborhoods

What are the “interests of the homeless” — to live under God’s roof undisturbed while making life hellish for everyone else? Not just pedestrians! Those who live and work in areas overrun with homeless people find their living and working threatened, and increasingly joyless.

Near the end of the article is a quote that echoes the broken window theory of law enforcement:

Henry Miller, a senior fellow for health studies at the Pacific Research Institute, believes that California is virtually unable to provide basic municipal services. The state “has become a victim of its own attractiveness, combined with political mismanagement” and “one-party rule.” Miller agrees with the downtown merchant who told a Los Angeles Times columnist that “once a pile takes shape, the appearance of lawlessness and neglect is a magnet for other dumpers.” The same, he noted, is “true of homeless encampments, panhandlers, the expansion of skid row neighborhoods, the increase in vandalism and other minor crimes, and so on.”

Locally, we have not yet reached threatening levels seen everyday elsewhere, and not far away. We should muster the resolve to do what we can where we are, and fix what we can with what’s wrong at the state level — in particular, make governance of the state more diverse by breaking up Democrats’ one-party rule.

Local organizations

We are blessed in northwest Orange County with many buoyant non-profits, including those who address homelessness. Consider supporting them!

The mission of We Care of Los Alamitos is specifically to prevent families from becoming homeless.

Grateful Hearts — a subject of the fourth episode of our Orange County Breeze Sidecar podcast — is a food bank fighting “food insecurity” and its causes.

Casa Youth Shelter helps runaway kids who otherwise might end up on the streets.

Precious Life Shelter takes in pregnant adult women and supports them through the birth of their child. The program’s latest expansion includes nearby long-term housing.