The Olympics Are Coming, the Olympics Are Coming. Where’s the Housing? | Opinion

he LA28 Olympic mural by Artist Steven Harrington is displayed on the corner of Stanley Street and Sunset Boulevard.

he LA28 Olympic mural by Artist Steven Harrington is displayed on the corner of Stanley Street and Sunset Boulevard.

The Olympics will be here just four years from now, and preparations are well underway. The perennial questions are: “Will we be ready? What will Los Angeles present to the world?”

In 1984, Los Angeles dazzled the world when it hosted the Summer Olympics. The dreaded “carmageddon” didn’t happen—getting around town was actually a breeze. Angelenos volunteered in droves. The organization was impeccable. The scenery was breathtaking. It would have been hard to imagine a better advertisement for life in Los Angeles. We all took great pride in how we delivered for the Olympics and for our beloved hometown. I fervently want that to happen again. However, the challenges abound.

Not only does LA have to house thousands of athletes and visitors in 2028, but we have to house the homeless living here now. If we don’t want the international media to paint LA as the homeless capital of the world, then something must change and change quickly.

We could take the approach of the Chinese Communist Party for Beijing’s Winter Olympics in 2022, locking the city down and sweeping everything undesirable out of sight. We could adopt the Gavin Newsom approach from last November, when the California governor similarly swept the homeless out of sight on short notice.

Or we could use the opportunity of the Olympics to make a substantial down payment on improving the quality of life for our poorest neighbors. The choice is ultimately ours, but we need to choose now.

Cities the world over are in the midst of an epochal change. The combination of our information age and the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we work forever. The internet has profoundly altered the way we shop, while streaming has revolutionized how we consume entertainment. We are more likely to be nesting in 2028 than hitting the mall or the multiplex. Going to the office is a sometime thing for many, and we frequently have food delivered to our home instead of dining out.