Editorial: Living in an encampment shouldn’t put you first in line for homeless housing

Homeless encampments have gotten a lot of attention in the last couple of weeks in Los Angeles. The city has about 41,000 homeless people, but encampments with dozens or even hundreds of inhabitants have particularly raised the ire of neighborhoods that see them — to varying degrees of accuracy — as magnets for trash, crime or fire, and as eyesores on sidewalks and in parks.

In the days since the Echo Park Lake homeless encampment dwellers were moved out and the property fenced off, residents in several other neighborhoods have called for city officials to disband camps in their areas.

But the city has scarce resources to house its homeless residents, temporarily or permanently. (And that’s a travesty.) Currently, hotels and motels leased through Project Roomkey, a federally funded program for sheltering homeless people, are pretty much booked up.

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