As the weather turns a bitter cold at night and waves of winter storms re-christen our brown hills with bright green, our seasonal climate change begs us to wonder about our fellow citizens who are camped out in the riverbed or in some alleyway behind a shopping center on Bouquet Canyon Road.
I read the June 2023 Annual Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority report on homelessness and was alarmed.
The 2023 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count results were just released, showing a 9% rise in homelessness on any given night in Los Angeles County to an estimated 75,518 people and a 10% rise in the city of Los Angeles to an estimated 46,260 people.
“The homeless count results tell us what we already know — that we have a crisis on our streets, and it’s getting worse,” said Va Lecia Adams Kellum, chief executive officer of the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority.
The report states, “The number of unhoused people in interim housing held steady at 20,363” and further remarks, “LAHSA reported that, in coordination with its partners, it made 22,540 placements in 2022.”
Let’s do the math.
Fewer people are in housing now than were referred. If the program was successful, one would expect that the 22,000 new referrals would be in addition to the 20,000 already in interim housing, meaning 42,000 would be under taxpayer support. But despite referring 22,540 in 2022, this number actually in interim housing is unchanged, leading us to conclude that as many left housing as entered or that those who were referred never went.
The LAHSA report continues, “Earlier this month, Mayor (Karen) Bass announced that in the first six months of her administration, more than 14,000 people moved from L.A.’s streets to interim or permanent housing, with over 4,300 obtaining permanent housing.”
This means that the 10,000 folks Mayor Bass placed in interim housing are actually already in the 20,000 housed. We are creating new programs and spending more to provide the same services as prior to Inside Safe.
Billions of taxpayer dollars for what, I thought? The report conveniently leaves out vital conclusions while never actually disclosing how much these futile efforts cost.
I, among many, have the answers. I wonder if anyone in elected office cares.
Jonathan Kraut directs a private investigations agency, is the CEO of a private security firm, is the CFO of an accredited acting conservatory, is a published author and Democratic Party activist. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal or of other organizations. “Democratic Voices” appears Tuesdays and rotates among local Democrats.