It is projected that there are nearly 70,000 homeless in Los Angeles County, about 42,000 are living in Los Angeles City.
About five people die on the streets every day, and with the recent rain and cold, more homeless are succumbing to the elements and hypothermia.
Molly Rysman, the chief programs officer with the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) told the L.A. times February 23, 2023 (“Southern California Races to Shelter Homeless People as Frigid Storm Bears Down”), that the lack of winter housing can be blamed on climate change.
“We have not figured out how to secure the resources to address all the extreme weather conditions that are now part of our regular work, and it’s really year-round,” said Rysman, who makes $227,627 annually with benefits.
LAHSA generally opens about 270 seasonal beds from November through March, but this year only about 142 beds were budgeted in Los Angeles. Rysman said that there is difficulty opening interim housing on the Westside.
An enormous amount of money has been budgeted to help the homeless. There are two areas that residents should examine, salaries going to those who are “helping” the homeless and the money spent on “housing” for the homeless.
Now Councilmember Traci Park wants to incorporate key performance indicators in City projects (http://clkrep.lacity.org/onlinedocs/2023/23-0029_misc_1-10.pdf).
Money Spent on Salaries:
Looking at LAHSA salaries, there are 40 people who make more than $100,000 a year (that doesn’t include benefits). (Visit: https://transparentcalifornia.com/salaries/2021/los-angeles-homeless-services-authority/)
For example, the associate director for contracts and procurement, makes $96,170, but with benefits comes in at $120,347. The manager for Project Roomkey, makes $95,640 and earns an additional $24,486 in benefits bringing the total package to $120,127.
One has to go to the 74th LAHSA position listed before you find someone who makes under $100,000 (with benefits).
Proposition HHH – Failure to House Homeless:
In 2016, voters passed Proposition HHH, a $1.2 billion bond measure that was supposed to create 10,000 new apartments for the homeless.
With the money committed, only 1,000 HHH-funded units have opened at an average cost of $500,000 each.
Former LA City Controller Ron Galperin criticized HHH projects for being too slow and expensive.
Galperin had said the original projection was $350,000 per unit but rose to $579,616 per unit. He had argued a better option was taking some of the HHH money and putting into more immediate, transitional housing options.
Former LA chief administrative officer Miguel Santana in a November 2021 interview on KCRW (“$1.2 Billion and Five Years Later, Why Has Prop HHH Built Only a Fraction of Its Promised Homeless Housing Units”) asked, “What is the plan after these funds are spent?”
Santana also headed a citizen panel overseeing HHH and said, “the city should have used the one-time dollars to spearhead new, more efficient ways of building and looked to invest in more innovative models from the get-go, rather than putting so much money into traditional affordable housing deals.”
PARK SEEKS MOTION FOR PERFORMANCE INDICATORS:
Councilmember Traci Park sponsored legislation that passed January 10, that would incorporate key performance indicators into City Contracts with nonprofits and service providers.
“As we work with the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) and a myriad of other partners in helping the unhoused throughout the city, we need to know which programs are achieving results and which are not,” Park said. “This is an important step in bringing accountability to efficiently utilizing taxpayer dollars.”