It seems like an obvious fix to the squalor and stench as homelessness surges on Los Angeles streets: more restrooms.
But L.A. has estimated that staffing and operating a mobile bathroom can cost more than $300,000 annually — a price tag that has galled some politicians. During budget talks this spring, city officials estimated that providing toilets and showers for every homeless encampment in need would cost more than $57 million a year.
“How many single-family homes could you build for that much money?” Councilman Paul Krekorian asked at a hearing at City Hall last month, saying that L.A. had to find a cheaper solution.
The heartburn over the price of bathrooms comes as the number of people living on the streets has surged. The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority recently reported that the homeless population grew by 16% in the city this year, reaching more than 36,000.
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