Los Angeles City Council member Mike Bonin has proposed sheltering the city’s growing homeless populations in facilities at local beaches on the Pacific Ocean, provoking the ire of local residents who rely on the beaches for recreation.
Touting what he calls an “everything in” approach to homelessness, Bonin posted his plan last week, which includes a motion to study a “temporary site for single-occupancy tiny homes or safe camping at the county-owned parking lot at Will Rogers State Beach” in Pacific Palisades; similar sites at Dockweiler Beach in Playa Del Rey and Fisheran’s Village in Marina Del Rey; and a “temporary site specifically for RV safe parking at the county-owned parking lot” at Dockweiler.
Bonin includes suggestions for several additional sites on the west side of Los Angeles. His motion does not address the environmental impact of homeless encampments on public beaches, including sewage, drug use, crime, or other problems.
The county’s beaches have been one of the few refuges for local residents during the coronavirus pandemic, when other recreation sites were closed or restricted. The city council used public recreation centers as temporary homeless shelters.
Many local residents were furious. One commented on the NextDoor website:
I don’t understand why they are trashing our city’s infrastructure and the lives of tax paying citizens?! Bonins proposal sounds so crazy and ridiculous! There is a lot of cheap empty land just outside of LA where tiny homes and homeless communities can be concentrated and all the needed help centralized and provided. It’s cheaper, less controversial and gives them a goal to return to the community once cleaned up and able and willing to live a normal life.
Others noted that there already are homeless people who sleep on the county’s beaches, and criticized those who objected to Bonin’s effort to address the problem.
The homeless population has been rising rapidly in Los Angeles in recent years, thanks to the opioid epidemic; the high cost of housing; and the attraction of local weather and public services to homeless people from other parts of the country.
The homeless population in L.A. had risen by 14% through 2020, to over 41,000; the county experienced a rise of 13%, to over 66,000 people. No homeless count was undertaken in 2021 due to health risks during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A Change.org petition opposing Bonin’s beach homeless proposal had surpassed 4,500 signatories as of Monday afternoon.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book is How Not to Be a Sh!thole Country: Lessons from South Africa. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.