LAHSA Plays “Who’s on First” with CTN

The Los Angeles Homeless Service Authority played a Costello and Abbott bit, Who’s on First, with this editor. CTN initially sent emails to LAHSA on January 23, asking why Pacific Palisades was not supposed to count Will Rogers Historic Beach nor Pacific Coast Highway in the annual Point-in-Time Count. Areas that volunteers have counted since 2015.

About 50 emails later, CTN realized a public records request would be futile, because as they say in Whose Line Is it Anyway “everything’s made up and the points don’t matter.”

Take a look at the Abbott and Costello bit and then compare it with LAHSA and CTN.

Abbott: Strange as it may seem, they give ball players nowadays very peculiar names.

Costello: Funny names?

Abbott: Nicknames, nicknames. Now, on the St. Louis team we have Who’s on first, What’s on second, I Don’t Know is on third–

Costello: That’s what I want to find out. I want you to tell me the names of the fellows on the St. Louis team.

Abbott: I’m telling you. Who’s on first, What’s on second, I Don’t Know is on third-­ Costello: You know the fellows’ names?

Abbott: Yes.

Costello: Well, then who’s playing first? Abbott: Yes.

Costello: I mean the fellow’s name on first base. Abbott: Who.

Costello: The fellow playin’ first base.

Abbott: Who.

Costello: The guy on first base.

Abbott: Who is on first.

Costello: Well, what are you askin’ me for?

Abbott: I’m not asking you–I’m telling you. Who is on first.

For the first since the count began here in 2015 LAHSA asked Pacific Palisades volunteers not to count the beach or PCH.

Kim Cleary, who has organized the count here since it’s inception is joined by Palisades Senior Lead Officer Brian Espin and Bruce Hensel.

CTN: Why? Volunteers here have always counted those areas.

LAHSA: No, you have not counted them, CalTrans counts the road. L.A. City Rec and Parks count beaches.

CTN: They don’t. I know, because I was one who counted. We counted them this year, too. There are no beaches in Westchester. What was the count that LAHSA had for Will Rogers Beach this year?

LAHSA: There has been a miscommunication. Some sandy beach areas of Malibu, Pacific Palisades, Venice, Westchester, El Segundo, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach, Torrance, Palos Verdes and Wilmington may not have been consistently counted. But beaches were counted in San Monica, San Pedro and Dockweiler Beach in Westchester.

CTN: What was the Will Rogers’ count?

LAHSA: In total, the miscommunication affected limited areas from 33 of 3,249 census tracts, or 1% of all tracts. During the 2023 Homeless Count last year, volunteers counted 25 people, two vehicles, four makeshift shelters, and two tents in the sandy beach areas of these 33 census tracts. Since the Homeless Count is an estimate calculated by LAHSA’s partners at USC, the incomplete data will not affect the overall 2024 Homeless Count results.

CTN: What about the cars/RVs along PCH? Was that a miscommunication as well?

LAHSA: We will conduct make-up counts of the beach areas in the affected census tracts by the end of next week to provide a more precise picture of homelessness in those communities. LAHSA will also conduct an internal review of its communication practices with Deployment Site Coordinators to ensure this does not happen again next year.

CTN: The beaches were not counted, correct?

LAHSA: We are able to update our earlier statement about which beaches were definitely counted. We noted last week that we had confirmation beaches were counted in Santa Monica, San Pedro, and Dockweiler Beach in Westchester, while some others may not have been. After additional feedback from local City representatives, we can now confirm that sandy beach areas in Malibu, Westchester, El Segundo, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach, Torrance, Palos Verdes, and Wilmington were also counted.

CTN: There are no beaches in Westchester. What number did you get for Pacific Palisades?

LAHSA: We have confirmed that PCH was counted by CalTrans.

CTN: What was the number found for the beach and PCH? Can I see the agreement between Caltrans and LAHSA to compare numbers?

LAHSA: We appreciate that you took contemporaneous notes at the time of your counting. We can definitely use those records, so we’re happy to take your beach and highway numbers to fill in and to compare.

CTN: Caltrans said they had been counting since 2021, but did not have an agreement with LAHSA. Caltrans told me to contact you for the data.

LAHSA: We believe that transparency and accountability are core principles of its data collection and dissemination.

CTN: Whose numbers were used in the PIT Count – Palisades volunteers or Caltrans? Or was it double counted? What were the numbers?

LAHSA: I know CalTrans counted in the evening when almost all areas of the region were counting, so the numbers are going to be different, but because it’s a Point-in-Time count, they would both be valid.

CTN: What number is LAHSA using for the beaches and PCH in Pacific Palisades?

LAHSA: After gathering additional feedback from local City representatives and receiving data from the Palisades community and from St. Joseph Center for Venice, we have contemporaneous counts for those beaches as well. This data from the time the Homeless Count was performed Countywide will be included in the data submitted to HUD.

The entire length of Dockweiler was counted, as were the streets and surrounding areas. Just to clarify, comparing numbers observed on different days/times will not necessarily line up because each count represents the point in time when the counting is done.

CTN: What are the numbers for PCH?

LAHSA: Just letting you know, Westchester does not have a beach.

A Playa resident, Lucy Han, sent the following note to LAHSA on March 15:

Could you please help us to understand why an undercount of homeless on the beach will not affect the overall Homeless Count results? Seems it would make sense to include an accurate count of all beaches (including Venice & Pacific Palisades) to ensure enough resources are allocated otherwise the beach areas will be underfunded. 

You stated that Westchester was counted. For clarification, Dockweiller is in Playa Del Rey. Westchester is land locked and inland from Playa Del Rey. Should numbers counted for Westchester have been included in the Playa Del Rey count? We want to make sure the location/count are accurate, so Playa Del Rey is not underfunded.

My husband has daily walks on Dockweiller beach. He has counted four tents on a short segment of Dockweiller. This is double the amount you counted last year for all 33 tracts. Could you please give the number of tents that were counted in Dockweiller so we may compare? 

This editor is not sure that Han will receive clarification, either. Maybe LAHSA will explain  “Our mission is to drive the collaborative strategic vision to create solutions for the crisis of Homelessness grounded in compassion, equity, and inclusion.”

LAHSA’s total revenue last year was $845,367, 023. About $1.5 million was spent on the homeless count, which was done mostly by unpaid volunteers, using an expensive app that did not always work in some areas of Pacific Palisades.

Even as the homeless population seems to be growing (75,518 in 2023 compared to 69,144 in 2022) so do administrative costs. Last year $40,280,745 was spent on LAHSA Administration. But at least it appears now that everyone agrees there aren’t beaches in Westchester.

This editor lets Abbot, Costello and LAHSA have the final word:

Costello: Now, when the guy at bat bunts the ball—me being a good catcher—I want to throw the guy out at first base, so I pick up the ball and throw it to who?

Abbott: Now, that’s the first thing you’ve said right.

LAHSA/Costello: I don’t even know what I’m talking about!









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3 Responses to LAHSA Plays “Who’s on First” with CTN

  1. 'Joy' says:

    Nothing like a manure pile of 4 syllable excuses strung together to obfuscate a man-made disaster. The LAHSA should be ashamed. Our little volunteer group has achieved more with no real funding than the ‘professionals’ have done with millions.
    I am sad for all involved.

  2. Murray Levy says:

    $845,367, 023 spent by LAHSA on 75,518 unhoused individuals means $11,194 per person. Wouldn’t $11,194 be enough to provide housing for one person even in a market as expensive as Los Angeles?

  3. Barbara XXXX says:

    All of this homeless count, monies spent,etc is a sham. Such corruption everywhere ! aren Bass and Kamala Harris just stand around for photo ops and smile( My opinion, and I’m not the only one who feels this way). How do we hold the feet of these people to the fire? Isn’t enough enough?

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