Homelessness Report Authors Pen Op-Ed in LA Times

Marques Vestal and Andrew Klein, two members of the research team that produced the Luskin Center for History and Policy’s Making a Crisis: A History of Homelessness in Los Angeles, wrote an op-ed published in the LA Times urging historical examination of the city’s housing crisis to best mold its solutions. Vestal and Klein acknowledge Mayor Garcetti’s pledge to end homelessness by 2028 but critique the campaign as falling into an all-too-common trap of omitting homeless individuals’ self-determination. A backdrop of mass evictions after the Great Depression through Los Angeles’ “urban renewal” and “containment” plans in the 1960s and 70s represents nearly a century of failed efforts toward substantive change. The City must instead recognize that the homeless “make decisions on their own behalf that city policy cannot fully control” before taking “steps to support their self-determination,” they write. Vestal and Klein signal a dark future for the crisis if meaningful, historically-informed action is not swiftly taken.