A ghostly chant of “Bill of Rights, Bill of Rights” drifted out of a sidewalk tent as the United Nations monitor on extreme poverty walked the streets of skid row as part of a national tour investigating human rights conditions for the poorest U.S. citizens.
Philip Alston, an Australian and a New York University law professor, got a full taste of the epicenter of L.A. homelessness last week, passing by a shelter courtyard with dozens of people bedding down on the concrete because there was no room inside.
He and his entourage veered into the street to avoid a shirtless man who lay groaning across a wheelchair, a colostomy bag showing below his shorts hem.
“I think it’s on a scale I hadn’t anticipated, block after block of people,” Alston said at the tour’s end. “When you see how concentrated it is, it’s more shocking.”
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