[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.