Last month, we spent a couple of days walking around downtown LA. One omnipresent sight was the many homeless people living on the street. Often they would just fade out of view, but that was just my perception, they were always there. I would just choose not to notice them. One evening, we were swinging by Dan’s studio, which neighbors Skid Row and in the gathering gloom the sidewalk was packed with camping tents, setup for the night. It was a modern-day Hoover-Ville. Previously, I had heard the joke that camping is where rich people spend a whole lot of money to live like a homeless person. After seeing those tents, especially the one with an empty wheelchair parked outside, it was a joke that seemed more cruel than funny. We had almost no conversation with any homeless person, not that we initiated any. Even their panhandling seemed muted. The only one that I can remember was on our last morning in LA. We were eating outside with Dan, at a café, on the sidewalk. It was at the end of our meal. Dan had a half-eaten panni still on his plate. A women stopped and politely asked if she could have it. Dan explained that he was going to eat it for lunch. I can understand where the creators of zombie movies and TV shows, like the Walking Dead, get their costume ideas. They get it from the homeless people of LA. The similarity in clothes is too uncanny and their art direction is not good enough to be otherwise. The photo shows some public park benches in downtown LA. The ridges are designed to make sleeping on the benches by homeless people impossible. All of the benches have similar devices. Some wag had put the reserved sign there and it was too good a shot to pass up.
The more organized (and permitted) tent cities in Seattle tend to stay in one location for 3 months. there are at least two unpermitted in place now as well, one of which is a few blocks away. And there is the hard sided hoovervillesque encampment on a hillside not too far from the stadiums. This site had been given only a 30-day permit unless the geologist report indicated it was safe (slide potential), and then they could get to the 90 days.