Patterico's Pontifications


A Small Tale Of Two Cities And The Homeless

Filed under: General — Dana @ 5:59 am

[guest post by Dana]

Outside of apartment buildings in London and in downtown Los Angeles, two unique decisions have been made to protect the owners of high-end residences. And both decisions have caused quite a stir.

Metal spikes have been installed outside a block of luxury flats in London to deter homeless people from sleeping there.


People living in the flats, which sell for upwards of £800,000, said the metal studs were installed two weeks ago after a number of homeless people were seen sleeping there.

One woman resident, who asked not to be named, said: “There was a homeless man asleep there about six weeks ago.

Then about two weeks ago all of a sudden studs were put up outside.

I presume it is to deter homeless people from sleeping there.”

A couple, who also asked to remain anonymous, added: “It’s because of the homeless.”

Protesters against the installation claim the homeless deserve better treatment:

“These Anti homeless studs are like the spikes they use to keep pigeons off buildings. The destitute now considered vermin [sic].”

Local charities are shocked by the practice:

Katharine Sacks-Jones, head of policy and campaigns at homelessness charity Crisis, said: “It is a scandal that anyone should sleep on the streets in 21st century Britain. Yet over the last three years rough sleeping has risen steeply across the country and by a massive 75 per cent in London.

Behind these numbers are real people struggling with a lack of housing, cuts to benefits and cuts to homelessness services to help them rebuild their lives.

They might have suffered a relationship breakdown, a bereavement or domestic abuse. They deserve better than to be moved on to the next doorway along the street. We will never tackle rough sleeping with studs in the pavement. Instead we must deal with the causes.”

Similarly, last month in Los Angeles, the City Council approved plans for a luxury high-rise developer to install a pedestrian bridge over the street below in order to protect tenants from a homeless population that frequent the area. The bridge will essentially join together two separate sections of the apartment. The developer was blunt about what he perceived as the necessity for a bridge:

Palmer’s company, G.H. Palmer Associates, said in paperwork filed with the city that it requested the bridge “specifically because it is concerned about the safety of project residents and potential incidents that could occur during the evening hours when the homeless population is more active in the surrounding area.”

As expected, and as in London, this drew the ire of Angeleno activists who believe the developer is vilifying the homeless. On the other hand, his supporters in the downtown business groups commend him for constructing apartments at a location where others have been fearful of developing projects.


35 Responses to “A Small Tale Of Two Cities And The Homeless”

  1. Wealthy young urbanites walking in sky bridges over the homeless.

    Funny. That’s how I sort of pictured the remaining caste system, ever since kali decided to drive out or eliminate the middle class.

    You either have a ton of money and live in a luxury condo or an EBT card.

    Steve57 (5f0260)

  2. I remember an episode of the cartoon The Jetsons, where George had “car” trouble and had to make an emergency landing. The ground he landed on looked quite dismal, dirty, and with a hobo looking to George for a hand-out. words were exchanged between George and the hobo – something like:

    Spare a dime?

    Get a job.

    felipe (960c75)

  3. I lived by Chicago’s Belmont Harbor. A very high-toned area. In order to get to Lincoln Park, the Yacht Club, and the beach, on foot you had to cross Lake Shore Drive through an underground tunnel. It was not safe. Homeless were the least of it. There were other “loiterers” much more dangerous waiting for vulnerable people alone.

    The British spikes are crass. Why spikes? Why not decorative metal work such as they put on top of retaining walls? Or rough stone? Also in Chicago, loiterers would congregate at a City College in the Uptown area. They found the two-foot concrete retaining wall at the front a good bench. The College put a foot-high, wrought-iron, mini-fence on top of the retaining wall.

    nk (dbc370)

  4. I can’t speak to larger cities, but my experience with homeless folk in a (fairly good climate) small town is that: 1) almost all have mental health and/or substance abuse problems and 2) most seem to prefer living on the streets (though some will sometimes accept an occasional stay in a shelter). I have seen a lot of individuals & groups attempting to help these folk with very limited success (probably related to point #1).

    Roy in Nipomo (160066)

  5. No doubt about it. Homeless = mental health and drug abuse. And they prefer jails to shelters as opposed to the street. They are treated better there. Sheltered, protected, fed, medicated. The biggest mental health care and substance abuse detoxification (not rehabilitation) providers in the U.S. are the LA County Jail, Riker’s Island, and Cook County Jail.

    nk (dbc370)

  6. friend of mine was a field deputy for a locl council person, and there was a large homeless encampment in an arroyo near a residential neighborhood.

    after many complaints/crimes/problems, the PTB organized an intervention, with cops, social services, NGO reps, trash trucks etc….

    the residents of the camp, for the most part, refused all offers of help, gathered up what they could move, and went down the road to the next place they could find.

    it’s a mental health issue, but you can’t lock up crazy people, because they have a right to be crazy, according to some judges and various “activists”…

    redc1c4 (abd49e)

  7. This “rough sleeping” movement continues to grow because no one will enforce the laws against vagrancy, drug abuse, etc., and we support people so they can stay on the street. All that is left is dumb things like planting spikes! As for the apartment house, this developer’s other apartments in DTLA also have the catwalks so it’s nothing new. But a great opportunity for demonizing.

    Even 60 Minutes had the warden at Cook County Jail on and he said most of his inmates are mentally ill. They are the default asylum of a society that doesn’t care, as he put it. We do care, but we are stymied at every turn by the taxpayer-funded advocacy groups. The LAPD did a study of Skid Row downtown and found that at least 25% did have homes, but hung out there because of drugs and crime, their preferred lifestyle. The new yuppie residents downtown support the LAPD and fight the advocacy groups, which is interesting. Could lead to new conservatism!

    Patricia (5fc097)

  8. reminds me of those things they put up on buildings to keep pidgeons away…I wonder if they considered a 6 foot plastic owl instead? Coulda called it “art”

    Mike S. (f5d617)

  9. How would you enforce the laws against vagrancy? Please start by drafting one, defining vagrancy. The homeless wind up in jail on two crimes — trespassing and aggravated assault. A property owner complains and if he is not satisfied with the police driving the guy away and wants to sign a complaint, it’s trespassing. If the homeless person shrugs off or knocks away the cop’s hand it’s agrravated assault (technically aggravated battery but most cops are too nice to charge the more serious crime). There is no place to take them except jail, which has to take them. They’ll be detoxed and given their psychotropics. If they’re fit to plea, they walk out in fourteen days wit two weeks’ supply of medications. When the medications run out, they go on heroin which is cheaper and easier to get. Some jails sign them up for Obamacare but I don’t know how much that helps. They won’t seek assistance now, just like they didn’t before, and even if they do there are no beds for them in mental health hospitals. Their best chance is if they’re found unfit to plead because it means they’ll have a longer stay in jail, in comparative safety, with proper nutrition and medication. It’s very difficult to civilly commit them for more than fourteen days, not because of the ablists, but because there’s no place to put them. Cook County jail takes in three thousand a year and the whole State of Illinois Department of Mental Health has a total of three thousand beds and those are used by people found not guilty by reason of insanity or indefinitely committed as dangerous persons.

    Anyway, don’t let it worry you too much. They don’t live for very long on the street.

    nk (dbc370)

  10. at the LA project I’m surprised he wasn’t required to devote a number of units to “affordable” housing and then bring the homeless inside. Hopefully he didn’t take any HUD money

    Mike S. (f5d617)

  11. I wonder if they considered a 6 foot plastic owl instead?

    How about planters with decorative metal edgings so they can’t even sit on them? The sun has set on the British Empire in more ways than one.

    nk (dbc370)

  12. Anyway, don’t let it worry you too much. They don’t live for very long on the street.

    GTH, nk. You know nothing about me or homeless people, but I guess it feels good to throw up your hands and hurl invective at all your moral inferiors.

    David Brat (5fc097)

  13. That was me…

    Patricia (5fc097)

  14. It was not invective, it was sarcasm. And I know a lot about the homeless and the following about you:

    This “rough sleeping” movement continues to grow because no one will enforce the laws against vagrancy, drug abuse, etc., and we support people so they can stay on the street.

    We do care, but we are stymied at every turn by the taxpayer-funded advocacy groups.

    nk (dbc370)

  15. there was a homeless hoochie in the alley the other day

    one of my neighbors fed her so she lingered

    ultimately she ended up making a poopy by the trash can

    then she went away

    but the poopy is still there

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  16. The homelessBums are part of the urban landscape like potholes, car exhausts, pigeon droppings, and lawyers. Just be on the lookout for them and walk around them. Unless, of course, you are one of those persons who needs the world to be a neat and tidy place, with the cinnamon in its proper hole in the spice-rack, the hardwood floor freshly polished, and curtains on the windows.

    nk (dbc370)

  17. but the poopy is still there

    If the city had not poisoned the rats, they would have eaten it by now. That’s what happens when man tinkers with the balance of nature.

    nk (dbc370)

  18. i know we have rats cause they ate up all my basil

    but i guess if i were a rat i’d rather eat fresh basil than some homeless chick’s poopies

    this is the sort of epiphany you just don’t get at other blogs

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  19. Are you sure it was rats and not birds? Birds are the bane of young plants.

    nk (dbc370)

  20. first person who trips and falls onto those spikes is going to win big on the litigation lottery.

    redc1c4 (abd49e)

  21. i would’ve thought birds but it was always something what happened at night

    and the pots themselves would be moved around

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  22. Public benches now have a third arm in the middle so that the homeless cannot sleep on them.

    pst314 (ae6bd1)

  23. teh homeless be stealing your basil, mr feets!

    redc1c4 (abd49e)

  24. one time i went for a walk rather later than is wise

    and you know those big dumpsters they haul in for construction or renovation projects?

    there was one parked in the shadows on the little dead end street my building is on

    as i passed by i felt heard saw movement

    and when i looked, silhouetted against the sky, was a goddamn jeeper creeper!

    it was climbing into the dumpster, therein to feast upon something too horrible to even imagine

    my blood ran cold and I stopped and I regarded the jeeper creeper in terror and wonder

    and the jeeper creeper regarded me

    moments passed, tick and tock and tick and tock, and the jeeper creeper said

    how’s it going brother

    and I said we’re all good, in a voice several octaves higher than the one I’m accustomed to using, and I continued on my walk

    and the jeeper creeper retired to his dumpster for the evening

    and the north hollywood moon rolled across the north hollywood sky

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  25. In the Early-60’s, the US Govt had fairly good relations with Pakistan, and had some facilities in the area of Peshawar – Gary Francis Powers’ U-2 departed from the military side of the airport in that city.
    The compound of about 160-acres I was assigned to was surrounded by a very tall wall, topped by barbed wire, and in the local tradition, had broken glass embedded upon the top course of brick/blocks. To further discourage intruders, the perimeter was patrolled by a local contingent of the Pak Army who were not known to tolerate such behavior. There were never any breaches of the perimeter that I knew of, though we did – once in a while – hear the sharp report of a .303cal., SMLE #1-MkIII.

    askeptic (8ecc78)

  26. I live in a college town, and the homeless are an issue because the students give them substantial amounts of money which results in all sorts of problems. I agree that most of them are either mentally ill or have substance abuse problems, but there’s not much you can do–in Illinois, the most that you can do is try to get them committed while they are a danger to themselves or others; once they’ve sobered up, or taken their medication, they’re out again and the cycle starts all over. Many family members just give up because, as one of the commentators pointed out, it’s not illegal to be crazy, and they have the right to be out on the streets if they so choose.

    rochf (f3fbb0)

  27. …his supporters in the downtown business groups commend him for constructing apartments at a location where others have been fearful of developing projects.

    So is it going to be a nice development in an otherwise crappy area? They can avoid the homeless by running a bridge between towers, but the occupants have to come down to the street down below sooner or later.

    Blacque Jacques Shellacque (9940a5)

  28. Bums are part of the urban landscape like potholes

    But not to the absurd degree they’ve become over the past 60 years. The filth-encrusted nightmare that is LA’s Skid Row didn’t have quite as much a parallel back during the Great Depression.

    So what has changed over the past many decades? Less social services than the 1930s? Less do-gooder programs than the 1930s? Less compassion than the 1930s?

    I don’t think so.

    In fact, lots more: Squish, squish, hugs, hugs, I’m okay, you’re okay. Compassion for compassion’s sake.

    Mark (10ada1)

  29. Skid Row is a good way to get tuberculosis

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  30. 28. The closing down of mental institutions and the promised community services never materializing; the decriminalization of status whether addict or mentally ill; the striking down of laws that made poverty a crime; families not taking care of their weak members the way they used to (the last step to homelessness is burning out your family connections); shelters, food pantries, soup kitchens, emergency rooms, and above all jails, giving them extensions on life.

    nk (dbc370)

  31. In the old days charity was handled by local churches who had the advantage of knowing everyone in the community. They could make a better decision as to who would benefit from charity and who deserved it vs. who didn’t. I am not religious myself, but I see the wisdom and superiority of that system over what we have now. It is the very uncertainty of the availability of help that creates the proper incentives for people to take every measure to fend for themselves. It is also the uncertainty on the part of the Church leaders that they are spending their resource wisely that leads to better decisions on their part as well.

    When you centralize everything and make it an entitlement then all of the incentives are perverse and you have no right to complain of the outcome. If everyone who railed about how the homeless are handled were to take a homeless person into their homes there would be no homelessness starting tomorrow. But they know it is not a wise investment of their resources, which is why they want to use the resources of others… and so it goes.

    Thatch (8ace20)

  32. I propose an An Affordable Homeless Care Act. Adopt a homeless person or pay a $3,000.00 annual tax.

    The homeless are homeless because they lack the capacity, due to mental or personality defect, to take advantage of SSI, Medicaid, food stamps, and Section 8 housing like Obama’s base.

    nk (dbc370)

  33. i love that comment so much Mr. nk, what you just made

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  34. heyhhhyahkunkkunk spare some change, boss?

    no, loser. bless your kunkkunk heart but no I cannot spare you some “change”


    sweet pickle i’m only at this “7-11″ cause i have a debit card with a pin what these subcontinental 7-11 losers very likely can’t steal and i happen to be uncommonly thirsty and so… what i’ve done is… i’ve used my debit card, drawn on my personal cache of funds, to purchase for myself a 70-calorie starbucks doubleshot light, which i will now commence to enjoy, quick quick quick as a bunny, right in front of your covetous eyes whilst you stand here in front of the 7-11 like you simple


    that’s the difference between me and you, comprende?

    scuse me boss what the difference between me and you?

    well, first of all my friend, I don’t make a habit of standing around in front of 7-11s (obviously)

    well, boss – scuse me for saying so – but you standin front ub a sebenleben right now seem to me

    yeah well this is why you don’t have any friends, loser

    yeah well boss you just paid $4 for a 70 calorie 6.5 ounce beverage

    ok so we both have some things to work on… good day, sir

    see you later boss

    ok yeah I see you tomorrow have a good day

    you too

    ok bye


    happyfeet (8ce051)

  35. “Protesters against the installation claim the homeless deserve better treatment.”
    I’m surprised none of the first 34 commenters has made the obvious retort: Mr. or Ms. Protester, have you offered to let one or two of them stay at your house? Even if you don’t have a guest bedroom, a trundle bed or mattress on the floor is better than the street, isn’t it? So why aren’t any of them staying with you? If you have a grassy lawn or garden, even that’s more comfortable than a concrete alcove, but letting them stay inside your house would be so much better. You would be providing them with access to a bathroom, drinking water, food in the refrigerator, liquor in the cupboard, expensive stuff they can steal and sell for drugs, human company of various ages whom they can target for unwanted sexual advances or killing sprees. . . oh, wait, I think I see why you don’t want them around, but why are you so self-righteous about others not wanting them around?

    Dr. Weevil (238692)

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