Krekorian Challenges LAist Report on LAHSA Findings, Cites Misleading Data

This is the fire started by the homeless on Venice under the 405 Freeway. This encampment was disbanded with Mayor Karen Bass’ program, Inside Safe.

LAist’s Nick Gerda reported that the City was hiding a LAHSA report about the ineffectiveness of 41.18 (“Encampment Analysis”).

It appears Gerda is unclear about the code, and does not question LAHSA’s (Los Angeles Housing Service Authority) explanation of the difference between 41.18 and other homeless housing programs.

Paul Krekorian

L.A. City Council President Paul Krekorian wrote in a March 2 statement, “The article betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of what section 41.18 is intended to do and how it works.”

Krekorian said the ordinance does not “‘criminalize homelessness,’ and it is not an alternative to housing programs like Inside Safe. It simply prohibits encampments in specified limited areas that are especially dangerous to the unhoused themselves, or that unreasonably impede the public’s use of the public right of way or are adjacent to sensitive areas such as schools and childcare centers.”

In 2021, Councilmember Joe Buscaino set a motion to ban encampments within 500 feet from all public schools and libraries. His motion was an amendment to an earlier law. In July 2021, Nithya Raman and Mike Bonin voted against it, but it passed click here.

In February 2023, the L.A. City Council voted to enforce the Anti-Camping ordinance 9-4, dissenting were Katy Yaroslavsky, Nithya Raman Marqueece Harris-Dawson and Hugo Soto Martinez.

Then, Councilmember Traci Park said, “We do have beds available. We have resources, and this is something that our community has asked for.”

Only two months later, the City Council passed a motion asking LAHSA for information about 41.18 and gave them a 60-day completion date for the report.

LAist ran Gerda’s March 1 story, which claimed the City Council was hiding the report that had been delivered to city’s legislative analyst (CLA) in November. In his story he wrote “”L.A. city officials have for months kept from the public a damning report, ordered by the council, that found a major homelessness enforcement policy championed by several council members has failed in key goals to keep areas clear of encampments and get people housed.”

Krekorian responded immediately disputing LAHSA’s analysis and LAist’s coverage.

“The information LAHSA provided…was clearly faulty and incomplete at best, and perhaps even deliberately misleading,” wrote Krekorian, who co-authored 41.8.

Krekorian said once the chief legislative analyst received the report, they were “required to carry out its legally assigned duty to review and evaluate LAHSA’s information,” something that was challenging because “the information LAHSA provided to the CLA…was clearly faulty and incomplete at best, and perhaps even deliberately misleading.  The CLA has asked LAHSA to clarify the many omissions, ambiguities, and obvious inaccuracies in its work product.

“LAHSA has failed to respond to these basic questions,” Krekorian said, adding that the joint city-county agency “continues to dodge its responsibility to respond to the [legislative analyst]’s legitimate inquiries.” LAHSA officials dispute that allegation.

“LAHSA offered impartial analysis based on the available data. Our goal is always to provide honest assessments that will allow elected officials to make informed policy decisions,” said Paul Rubenstein, LAHSA’s head of external affairs, in a text message to LAist.

Rubenstein claims that 41.18 was implemented in a “rushed” manner in late 2021, “before tracking design and testing were possible,” resulting in the delay of the report due to LAHSA’s inability to “develop universal tracking standards.”

Within hours of publication of Gerda’s story, both L.A. Controller Mejia and City Councilmember Hugo Soto-Martinez — who opposed 41.18 — went on X/Twitter claiming that Gerda’s story about the report vindicated their position.

According to the Westside Current March 4 story (“Krekorian Challenges LAist Report on LAHSA Findings, Cites Misleading Data”), “In particular, Gerda cites the example of an encampment at the corner of Venice Boulevard and Tuller Avenue, where ‘the data show…54 people before the operation.  Among them, 52 people wanted shelter — but only two people got it, according to the data. And after the 41.18 operation, 122 people came back at various points, the data show.’

That cleanup was never a 41.18 operation. The Current writes “Venice and Tuller was the site of a longstanding encampment under the 405 freeway near the Sawtelle offramp. Three years ago, the Current reported on the challenges faced by a nearby resident to get LAHSA to do more than what she observed to be quick drop-offs of food there, but in a meeting with her, LAHSA officials stated that it was ‘too unsafe’ to provide any more assistance to the campers, who were clearly suffering with drug addiction and mental illness. Instead, porta potties and mobile showers were provided.

“On October 24, 2023, the encampment was finally cleared, ‘with authorities working to remove between 45 and 50 total tents,’ according to the Current’s reporting. One resident told ABC News before he boarded a bus to temporary shelter along with his fellow encampment dwellers, “Right now, I just feel ecstatic. We’re going to a better place.”  The operation was done in collaboration with the CD11 Council Office, the CD5 Council Office and Culver City.

“Contrary to LAHSA’s data, in the intervening months no encampments have been re-established at the site and clearing the 405 encampment was part of the Mayor’s Inside Safe initiative, not a 41.18 operation,” the Current wrote click here.

On Venice Boulevard, at the 405 underpass, there were porta-potties and washing stations for the homeless. Services were not offered until several years later.

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