Los Angeles boasts huge pockets of prosperity in places like Santa Monica, Hollywood, and nearby Orange County. Lots of tech companies are sprouting up in these areas, and the region is a haven for games and esports. But it also has a staggering number of homeless people.
I took a video of skid row in downtown Los Angeles and was stunned at the number of tents for the homeless crammed into a relatively small area. I saw it on the way to Two Bit Circus, a micro-amusement park in a fairly prosperous neighborhood.
Lots of high-rise condos and other office buildings are going up downtown; in fact, Los Angeles hasn’t seen so much construction since the 1920s. But the city clearly still has a huge deficit when it comes to solutions to homelessness. In June 2018, the Los Angeles Housing Authority reported there were more than 53,000 homeless individuals in Los Angeles County. That number decline 3% last year, but it is still a pretty shocking statistic. For context, there are 58 billionaires in Los Angeles.
The Bay Area isn’t much different, with 7,500 homeless currently on the streets in San Francisco and 80 billionaires in the region.
While I often write about the prosperous people and cool technologies of both San Francisco and Los Angeles, I can’t help but notice how many people are left behind in this tech boom.
I hope we can do something about this. There are people trying. It is not a problem that is easily solved, but we need to tackle it. Scenes like this video show that not everything is paradise in the world’s greatest democracy. It is so hard to see. And so easy to turn away.