A low-cost homelessness fix — make evicting tenants more expensive (LA Times)
Letter to the editor: A simple solution to preventing homelessness, unclogging the courts and maintaining fiscal discipline in the Los Angeles city budget exists, and it costs taxpayers nothing — change statutes to permit a tenant to obtain attorney fees when their landlord takes them to court and loses. (“Garcetti seeks to stem poverty, boost social justice in vision for L.A.'s recovery,” April 19)
This would mean that landlords would file only the most righteous cases; that every tenant could obtain legal representation; and that case filings would plummet, thereby unclogging the courts. As I stated earlier, this would cost taxpayers nothing.
This would make buying a building in L.A. with below-market tenants and then attempting to evict them in order to increase rents likely unprofitable. It would, fairly or not, shift the burden of eviction defense from poor tenants who rent to landlords who own.
Can we all live with that to solve an intractable problem?
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti will focus on housing. This is very good news, because in my many years of addressing homelessness, I see the lack of affordable housing as the initial calamity, the major factor, often leading to all the other problems, including psychological disability and drug addiction.
Many housed people live with addiction and psychological issues, but you don’t see them on the street, because they live inside.
No one can feel safe living on the street, because they are not safe. In Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, safety is preceded by physiological needs such as food, water and air.
Expanding Project Roomkey, which allows the city to rent hotel rooms to house unsheltered people, is a good place to start because it can provide housing quickly. This allows people to sleep in a clean bed, take a shower and receive three healthy meals a day.
But most of all, people can feel safe.
To see this full article on the LA Times website please go here.