Editorial: A fact check on Rick Caruso’s magical thinking about L.A. homelessness
It is past time to close the City of Los Angeles’ homeless camps,
The truth is there is no room for the city’s homeless on the streets.
“Why the homeless camp out on our streets and sidewalks …. (is) a mystery,” Rick Caruso wrote in the Los Angeles Times last week. “They do so in large numbers, and it is a mystery why—unless our city has fallen into some kind of a magical thinking where we think the world will give us whatever we want.”
The newspaper has been publishing his columns since the mid-1980s.
Here are just a few of Caruso’s most common, though inaccurate, assertions:
Caruso, a columnist for the Los Angeles Times for more than 32 years, is a noted homelessness expert.
“There are no homeless camps in Los Angeles,” he wrote in his column on March 27 about the city’s new Department of Homelessness. “There are no homeless camps in Los Angeles.”
“There are no homeless camps in Los Angeles (that) have become a public health hazard.”
“The biggest problem on the streets of Los Angeles is an increase in homelessness,” Caruso wrote in a January column on the issue. “But the biggest problem on the streets of Los Angeles isn’t an increase in homelessness. In fact, it is a decrease. While no camps have been built for the homeless, more and more people have become homeless by having no home to go to.”
The Times published an online article with “facts” about the homeless in Los Angeles that were false. The Times fact check was widely criticized as false by readers—including a number of well-known, well-known homeless-rights advocates. Caruso now admits this was a mistake.
Caruso has for years promoted “the