By: Brian Tang
Los Angeles County officials have been forcing homeless encampments to clear out near the SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, which will host the 2022 Super Bowl. SoFi stadium, the new home of the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams, was built at a cost over $5 billion and opened in September 2020. Officials claim that large events such as the Super Bowl often bring heavy traffic to the streets, where homeless individuals live. There has been a long history of major events displacing local unhoused communities; they all involve higher safety risks for the homeless population, including increased vehicular traffic and police interaction.
The clearing of homeless encampments has occurred in other cities in America as well. For instance, Atlanta has announced that it would clear homeless tent encampments in preparation for hosting the 2019 Super Bowl, and homeless camps were also cleared in Denver shortly before hosting the Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game in 2021. Local officials have typically denied malicious intent in these instances, instead claiming that their actions were in favor of protecting the safety of all parties involved. After these events end, homeless individuals often return to their previous locations as they have nowhere else to go.
Some experts state that simply displacing the homeless during major events or telling them to move somewhere else is not a viable solution. Counties should offer tangible and valuable resources that can actually help people move off of the streets, which would make a bigger difference in the long run. The homeless population has been growing during these past couple of years due to rapidly increasing rent prices and the COVID-19 pandemic, so situations for many have already been exacerbated. The city should work harder to develop more effective solutions to aid these individuals.