Saturday, December 25, 2010

clean up the homeless

This morning's LA Times article about a community run laundromat and shower in skid row is a good reminder of very simple steps that can be taken to improve the homeless situation for the public at large and homeless alike.  One of the more common complaints you hear about the homeless is that they are smelly and dirty - and limited interactions on public transit, park benches, and on the streets exacerbate relations and provide the cover for more authoritative solutions like forceful removal of the homeless by the police.  Obviously, if you do not have a home, it is hard to have good hygiene and clean clothes.  These public services could go a long way to providing the sanitary care the homeless need.  This service is humane and the right thing to do.  Further, the homeless aren't going anywhere - public services that benefit the public at large are a no-brainer.  I'd add to the list: public restrooms.  LA Downtown News has an interesting article from 2006 about the installation of APT - Automatic Public Toilets - in sections of the city.  It appears that the APT in skid row is a resounding success and is not prone to the abuse that formerly placed port-a-potties had experienced.

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