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LA Mayor Bass’ $1.3 Billion Homeless Spending Budget Proposal Draws Criticism

‘Ten percent of your budget should not be going to solve homelessness when the fixes are known’

By Evan Symon, April 26, 2023 2:30 am

LA Mayor Karen Bass’ $1.3 billion homeless department and fund budget for the coming year continued to draw criticism on Tuesday from many involved with homeless services, with many noting that the Mayor is focusing too much on her Inside Safe initiative.

In her state of the city address last week, Mayor Bass continued to vow to reduce homelessness in Los Angeles. Despite her Inside Safe program turning into something of a disaster, Bass tried to spin her actions as positive, noting that around 1,000 homeless people in the city have moved to temporary housing, with her asking for another $250 million to expand her efforts in the coming year.

“My top priority from day one to day 100 of my administration has been confronting the homelessness crisis with the urgency it requires, and that won’t stop,” said Mayor Bass last week. “Together, we will work to make Los Angeles safer and more livable in every neighborhood. This new era of LA City and County cooperation is essential to our success. Especially when it comes to Inside Safe, our new approach to moving people inside from encampments. And so today, more than one-thousand Angelenos are living inside and safe through this initiative.”

Democratic U.S. Representative Karen Bass at a Get Out The Vote rally for 2016 Hillary Clinton in Leimert Park Village Plaza a day before the California Primary. (Photo: Joseph Sohm, Shutterstock)

This was followed up by her unveiling the proposed city budget, showing that $1.3 billion, or around 10% of the budget, are to go to the 31 departments and funds within the city that deal with homelessness. While the budget still needs to be approved by the City Council by the end of May, it is widely expected that it will be, with the new funds to be made available at the beginning of June.

In a Sunday interview with NPR, Bass also noted that she had talked with President Joe Biden about getting more funding to house the roughly 40,000 homeless in LA proper.

“I basically said, ‘If your goal, Mr. President, is to reduce homelessness in the United States by 25%, you can literally meet that goal in our city for such a massive problem that I absolutely believe is an emergency,'” Bass said. “We are trying to lay the foundation and set the stage for what I hope will be a very significant reduction, especially in street homelessness this year.”

Homelessness in LA

However, many homeless advocates have blasted the plan, noting that much more than housing is needed, and that more money isn’t the answer.

“The problem isn’t that shelters don’t need more money,” Maurice, who helps run a church-based shelter in LA, told the Globe Tuesday. “I mean, it’s nice, but that isn’t the issue. A lot of homeless people hate the motels, hate open shelters, and generally just don’t like the experience.”

“I’ve talked with a lot of homeless people. Motels give you private rooms with private bathrooms and showers, and all that is great. But they are incredibly restrictive, and they move you around a lot, and if you’re holding a job, they could move you to a motel far from it. Curfews are a big killer for many, especially those that work nights.”

“Regular shelters have problems too. The lack of privacy is always a complaint, but we do our best. And again, curfews are big. We have people line up, but if they’re working homeless, they may not get here in time for space. Other shelters do give more privacy, but again, people who run them just have them down as a place to sleep and maybe eat.”

“Mayor Bass’ program ignores all of these things that actually keep so many out on the street as a result. Permanent, private housing is the goal, but to get that money doesn’t need to go to housing, it needs to go to job placement and services to not only get them off the street, but keep them off the street.”

“And let’s not forget all the homeless who live in cars and RVs who are often not counted. They need help too, but they aren’t as obvious to many. There are so many holes in her program”

Rachel, a colleague of Maurice, also told the Globe that “That money that [Mayor Bass] wants should not all go to housing. It’s supposed to go to 31 agencies? Put a lot more to job services. Put a lot more to substance abuse help. Put a lot more to keeping homeless families together and finding a way for them. Get everyone a room of their own, but make it gradually be based on getting a job and holding it down.”

“Fighting homelessness is gradual and not sudden. I know her goal is to get as many off the streets as possible right now, but she needs to do this the right way and get people not only shelter, but give them the means to keep it as well as provide food on their own, clothing on their own, and health care. They really need to start asking shelters and others involved in them the best way to go about this. Ten percent of your budget should not be going to solve homelessness when the fixes are known.”

The LA City Budget is expected to go before the City Council next month.

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One thought on “LA Mayor Bass’ $1.3 Billion Homeless Spending Budget Proposal Draws Criticism

  1. Sovereign wealth funds, hedge funds, billionaires across the globe – they all stash their wealth in the real estate industry in the United States’ largest cities. This flood of cash has completely distorted the prices in the real estate market; turned it into a huge bubble based on valuations completely out of line with on-the-ground market factors.

    Since that problem is not really addressable by the mayor of Los Angeles without going to war against the very corrupt banks and funds that buy and sell politicians – we are not going to see anything change unless the dollar becomes as risky to hold as an Argentinian peso.

    What the mayor can do:

    – stop ripping thousands of units of housing off the market using the Systematic Code Enforcement Program; or, create a class of bureaucrats to guide property owners safely through the permitting process and construction.

    – stop using the REAP program to dispossess property owners being attacked by a parasitic class of tenants committing property destruction, reporting the destruction to the housing department, then obtaining 50%-off discounts on rent while the owner pays for the damage and is eventually driven to foreclosure

    – stop the insane “Eviction Moratoriums” that have destroyed the wealth of Los Angeles’ shrinking middle and upper class

    All three of the above, SCEP, REAP, and the Eviction Moratorium, have led to thousands (THOUSANDS) of housing units being removed from the market. THOUSANDS of property owners have had their life savings wiped out, lost their property, and thrown into dire economic straights. I have seen it, first hand. The city’s own reports describe “successful enforcement” of these policies.

    What will happen: nothing will really change with Bass in charge. We will become a city of government welfare slaves and a tiny ruling class with their brain damaged servants and maitre’d media.

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