Thursday, May 12, 2005

Luxury Homeless Shelter

According to a report in the Christian Science Monitor, Los Angeles opened a new downtown homeless shelter last month. At a cost of $17 million, it includes a full-sized gymnasium, library, playroom, hair salon, education center, and professional kitchen. The shelter is designed to serve the estimated 6,000 homeless people in the city.

The report covers the views of those who support and oppose the cost and apparent luxury of the shelter.

I have no problem with building a functional shelter, and it ought to have a professional kitchen, given the number of people it feeds. However, at the risk of sounding like a grinch, I have to agree with critics who think a shelter like this tends to perpetuate homelessness rather than to address root causes. They're right that a lot of that $17 million could have been spent on low-cost housing to help reduce the number of homeless people who need a shelter.

Credit: This report was found several links downstream from an item at The Huffington Post.


Blogger carla said...

With the possible exception of the gymnasium...I don't see anything else frills.

The kitchen you've already commented on. The playroom is obviously for children of homeless parents..who can certainly be expected to have a decent place to hang out. Most homeless people are that way because they can't get a decent job. An on site hair salon with professional stylists are often needed to help individuals get cleaned up and prepared to enter the job applicant pool. The library is also a good idea as well..for those who are studying in school.

I doubt that the $17 million could have been spent on sufficient low cost housing for 6000 people. Housing prices in Los Angeles are huge.

It seems like money well spent to me.

9:00 PM, May 12, 2005  

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