Poll: L.A. Voters Furious About Homeless Crisis, Demand Swift Action

In this photo taken July 25, 2019, sleeping people, discarded clothes and used needles sit across the street from a staffed "Pit Stop" public toilet in the Tenderloin neighborhood in San Francisco. Merchants say the bathrooms have given homeless and other people a private place to go so they don't …
AP Photo/Janie Har

Los Angeles voters frustrated with widespread homelessness want officials to act swiftly and focus on shelter for individuals living on the street, a recent poll of county voters found.

The majority of voters expressed empathy for the homeless but cited impatience and disappointment with the area’s leadership, according to the poll done by the Los Angeles Business Council Institute and the Los Angeles Times.

“A key finding: Nearly four in 10 voters said that homeless people in their neighborhood made them feel significantly unsafe,” the Times’ Wednesday report said.

When asked to describe their concerns, participants mentioned urine and feces on the streets, an increasing sense of disorder, and worry about their own children, the outlet continued:

“I didn’t feel safe over there, especially raising my children,” said Amber Morino, a 35-year-old student and mother of seven who took part in a focus group done in conjunction with the poll. She moved this year to the San Fernando Valley from a home in Mar Vista after a camper caught fire near the park where her kids played.

“I am also considering moving out of the state because it’s so bad,” she added. “Like, I just feel like every corner I turn here there are encampments — campers. It’s just terrible.”

In August, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva criticized officials in his city who failed to address the crisis of an estimated 80,000 individuals living on the streets.

“The homeless crisis is a problem we can solve, if our elected leaders check their woke privilege at the door!” he wrote in a social media post:

Villanueva also penned a letter to the Board of Supervisors to declare a state of emergency to address the problem.

“Our County is facing many existential threats,” the letter read in part.

“With violent crimes on the rise, a nearly 100 percent increase in homelessness, illegal marijuana cultivation and distribution by organized crime rings, and the homeless population spiraling out of control, our resident are being held hostage in their local communities,” it said.

Aerial video footage from September showed the area’s homeless encampments:

The recent poll that surveyed 906 registered voters in the county and had a margin of error of 3.3 percentage points was created to update a similar one by the business council and Times from a few years ago.

“The new poll’s findings are broadly consistent with several private polls done in recent months by candidates, advocacy groups and others involved in the region’s debates over how to solve its persistent homelessness problem,” the newspaper said.

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