Yeah, I know, Sex Pistol Johnny Rotten ranting about Venice Beach homelessness at his presumably pricey home in Venice seems comical. Except it’s not. Not when they come over the gate into his yard and put tents up on his doorstep. Not when there are a lot of them, and they can be aggressive, and there are needles and poop on the beach and elsewhere. He’s not making any of that up.
They moved in en masse. They’re all young, they’re all like 24,” Rotten told to Newsweek. “They’re aggressive, and because there’s an awful lot of them together they’re gang-y.”
Venice has the largest concentration of homeless anywhere on the Los Angeles Westside (and probably anywhere in L.A. County except for the Nickel downtown which is just third world conditions.) I lived in Venice for a while and am not surprised by its burgeoning homelessness . Venice has a reputation for tolerance. Geographically, it’s easy to walk from the beach to elsewhere to crash. A huge issue is decreasing numbers of places to live due to Snapchat, which is headquartered there, buying hundreds of homes to use for offices plus homes and apartments being used by AirBnB. This means fewer places to live, which jacks up prices to ridiculous levels. Gentrification in Venice means affordable housing is non-existent. And if you lost your apartment in Inglewood where rents are much less and are homeless, it might as well be on the beach in Venice, among the $5000 a month 2 bdr apartments.
Los Angeles has genuinely been trying, if belatedly, to do something about homelessness and its accompanying health and sanitation issues and was staggered when newly released numbers showed homelessness up 12% in L.A. County over last year and up 16% in the city.
One of the largest increases [in homelessness], however, was among people 18 to 24 years old. Lynn said a 24% jump was partly the result of a change in the methodology of the count. But still, he said, “there was a significant increase, many more unsheltered. We were able to house more youth this year than last year, but this is an overflow population.”
Also exceeding the county average was a 17% spike of the chronically homeless — people with a mental or physical impairment who have been on the street or in shelter for more than a year.
Bracing for what appeared to be difficult years ahead, L.A. city and county officials have backed off their one-time mantra of “ending homelessness,” and are fully linking the crisis on the region’s streets to a housing crisis that is beyond their control.