L.A. Lags Behind Other Cities in Battling Homelessness, U.N. Monitor on Extreme Poverty Says

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The United Nations’ monitor on extreme poverty and human rights said Friday that political will created the hundreds of encampments that he saw lining the streets of Los Angeles, adding that the country is rich enough to end homelessness.

Philip Alston, the United Nations' monitor for extreme poverty, visited skid row last week to examine Los Angeles' response to homelessness. (Credit: Maria Cardona/ Los Angeles Times)

Philip Alston, the United Nations’ monitor for extreme poverty, visited skid row last week to examine Los Angeles’ response to homelessness. (Credit: Maria Cardona/ Los Angeles Times)

“But we don’t want to put the money into it,” special rapporteur Philip Alston, just off a two-week fact finding tour that included downtown L.A.’s skid row, said at a Washington, D.C., news conference. “We want to see homeless people as losers, a low form of life.”

Alston, an Australian and law professor at New York University, also accused the Trump administration of promoting a “double whammy” of tax reform and welfare cuts that he said will “make the U.S. the world champion of extreme inequality,” exacerbating the homelessness crisis.

“The social safety net is riddled with holes,” Alston said, adding that if the administration achieves its goals, “it will essentially be torn apart.”

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