The Los Angeles City Council has voted on an emergency plan to handle the city’s significant homeless problem, but it’s going to cost taxpayers’ dollars yet again.
On March 23, the council declared a homeless crisis and requested that the Los Angeles County Homeless Services Authority come up with a solution to the homeless encampments by the end of the year.
In 2017, there were 34,189 estimated homeless people in the state and about 76 percent of them weren’t living in shelters.
LA gets about 1,900 requests a month to clean up the encampments in the city, according to a recent Bureau of Sanitation report.
Communities are also fearful of the health risks that come with these homeless encampments. A hepatitis A outbreak has spread statewide from San Diego.
The Bureau is now seeking $17 million, more than double 2017’s budget to invest in the Clean Street program.
“The current demand for encampment cleanups is outpacing the city’s ability to service them,” said Anna Bahr, a spokeswoman for Mayor Eric Garcetti.
However, the Sanitation bureau isn’t only struggling to deal with the backlog of clean-up requests. The bureau hasn’t been able to build a large enough labor force in a quick enough time period to do the dirty work.
“Even though they supported a boost in funding, committee members questioned whether it would have much immediate impact. That’s because the hiring process isn’t quick. Testing and background checks for a newly hired sanitation worker responsible for encampment cleanups takes more than one year,” writes Curbed. “Bureau officials said they were working on speeding up the process, but offered no estimates on how much time could be shaved off the lengthy hiring period. The committee asked staff to report back on strategies to quicken the background checks.”
The current team could not handle the clean-up projects and giving them overtime would cost an additional $814,637 on top of the existing $13.7 million budget in place.
Sadly, the Measure HHH ballot initiative was passed in 2016, which included a lofty property tax increase that was supposed to solve the homeless problem.
Then in March of last year, Measure H was passed that provided $350 million per year to offer mental health and addiction services to those without a home.
Most recently, the LA City Council voted to build 222 units in each city district as permanent housing for the homeless by 2020.
“Last month, the city council voted unanimously to start housing 60 homeless people in trailers on a city-owned downtown lot. But despite the city paying $2 million for trailers equipped with bathrooms and showers, and funding allocating another $1 million a year to operate the downtown trailer park, CBS News reported that local restaurant owners say transients already hurt their business, and the trailers will make the situation worse,” writes Breitbart. “The City of Los Angeles told voters it could solve the homeless problem with the HHH tax increase and $1.2 billion. But it cost Orange County $780,000 per month temporarily to house 700 homeless evicted from the Santa Ana River in 400 motel rooms. Given the enormous scale of L.A.’s homeless problem, that would cost the city about $49.2 million a month.”
Every time the city raises more taxpayers’ dollars for the homeless issue, the problem only increases and it ends up not being enough.
Author’s note: California is a mess. The state has the highest state taxes and the city of LA, in particular, is extremely high, but officials have mismanaged their budgets. The homelessness is still out of control and is only getting worse.