“Like so many things, the modern version of this issue was turbocharged by Ronald Reagan, who came to power at a time homelessness was increasing and made the problem far worse by cutting programs for the poor and slashing housing subsidies by 75%,” Oliver said on “Last Week Tonight” Sunday.
Oliver pointed out that Reagan’s “quarter-assed thoughts on homelessness” included his claim that people were “homeless by choice.”
The host’s deep dive into the subject also explored the demonization of people who are homeless. He noted that a solution required focus on people who actually live on the streets ― not on the gripes of those who have homes.
Oliver used Los Angeles as an example. There’s been an outcry from visitors and residents over human excrement in or around homeless encampments. A pre-pandemic news report found that LA had just 16 mobile toilet stations for 36,000 homeless people and all were hauled away at night because there was no security budget.
“What the fuck to all of that, from the amount of public toilet stations available being less than the amount of Bond movies to shuffling those very minimal toilets away like they’re going to turn into a pumpkin at midnight,” Oliver snapped.
The city now has 55 toilet stations accessible 24/7, Oliver noted, but that’s still not enough.
“So, the next time you complain about human shit in the streets, maybe think about what it would be like if someone padlocked your bathroom every night,” Oliver said. “You, too, would suddenly be getting really creative really fast.”