What do disgraced congresswoman Katie Hill, Los Angeles Councilman Mike Bonin, the non-profit PATH developer Thomas Safran, and Executive Director Peter Lynn of the Los Angeles Homeless Service Authority have in common?
They are all profiting or have profited from the so-called homeless crisis. There is also a connection among this crew of self-proclaimed homeless advocates of receiving six-figure salaries stemming from ballot initiatives to public donations, campaign contributions, and sweetheart deals.
California Globe has been focusing on the money behind the homeless crisis. This crisis is a strain for the average California resident but a booming business for others. Maybe it is time for the voters and taxpayers in Los Angeles to say “Bah Humbug” to the misers who continue to ask for millions to help the needy while lining their own pockets.
On Christmas Day, President Donald Trump spent the holidays paying close attention to the homeless crisis plaguing the liberal run state by attacking California Governor Gavin Newsom.
“Governor Gavin N has done a really bad job of taking care of the homeless population in California. If he can’t fix the problem, the Federal Govt. will get involved,” tweeted Trump.
Thursday morning, President Trump continued to opine his criticism of the Golden State by also going after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Pelosi and Newsom have strong ties to San Francisco, a city leading the nation in homeless people, drugs and disease.
The Democrat leaders in California have lashed out against Trump and Dr. Ben Carson for months for withholding funds to solve the homeless crisis. Carson, who was sworn in as the 17th Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development said he and the Trump Administration want the liberal leaders to show accountability for funds they already have been granted. Millions have been thrown at the homeless crisis with zero progress. In fact, the more money that has been given to the state and cities, the worse the crisis has become.
Carson wrote that the Trump administration will help California but with stipulations, “When California has shown that it is willing to make hard and thoughtful choices to address these issues, the Trump administration stands ready to support its efforts.”
The homeless crisis appears to be manufactured for groups and people to profit through social programs and government positions. Those claiming to be able to fix the crisis continue to hold their hands out for state and federal funds – placing their value on how much public funding they can raise and spread around to campaign donors instead of results.
In March 2017 when Measure H was passed by Los Angeles County voters. This quarter-cent sales tax was estimated to raise $355 million a year for 10-years to fund homeless services and prevention. The sales tax increase will amount to $3.55 billion yet the city continues to ask for more funding.
However, Measure H also allowed $41.1 million to be advanced to LAHSA for Lynn to fund ramped-up services and operating expenses. Despite millions being thrown at the homeless crisis, under Lynn’s watch, the amount of homeless grew by 33%.
Lynn who is stepping down at the end of December has been making close to $250k a year for the last five years.
Columnist Brian Baker wrote against Measure H in a piece for the Signal, “When is enough? Because let’s face it; when this program ends up not actually “preventing” homelessness, which is exactly how things will turn out, what do you think is going to happen? They’re going to come back to the well to drink.”
In opposition to Measure H, KCET wrote the following: “The money will go to the same homeless organizations that let homelessness get out of hand. Homeless organizations have plenty of money they just don’t spend it well.”
According to tax returns obtained by the California Globe, in 2016, Hill who was then working for Path, (People Assisting The Homeless) a non-profit that helped pass Measure H was making $160k a year. In 2017, Hill was given a substantial raise that increased her salary to $174k a year. Despite a six-figure salary homelessness grew under Hill’s tenure.
Path Tax Returns 2016 HERE.
Path Tax Returns 2017 HERE.
Hill worked for PATH from 2010 to 2017 and used her platform of helping the homeless get elected into Congress despite the state’s failed track record of success with that issue.
Bonin, like Hill, pushed for Measure H to pass and used his ballot measure committee, LA Forward to promote another tax increase with Measure HHH for supportive housing.
Through Los Angeles Forward, Bonin, according to his website almost faced homelessness in his younger years and dabbled with crystal meth. He told voters, Proposition HHH, Los Angeles’ homelessness bond measure would raise $1.2 billion dollars for housing the homeless over the next decade through tax increases. Bonin’s salary with benefits is over $200k a year as a Los Angeles Councilmember and continues to be re-elected despite the dismal homeless numbers. Bonin like Lynn gloats about their success based on how much money they “receive” for helping the homeless.
When Hill left PATH those she worked with contributed to her campaign for Congress.
Bonin contributed at least $600. Hill’s boss at Path, Joel John Roberts and his wife donated $5,700.
Developer Thomas Safran donated to Hill, $6,500. Safran is raking in millions to develop affordable housing and non-competing bids for homeless contracts from the city of Los Angeles.
Measures H and HHH required tax increases. Those who opposed the measures called them socialistic.
In 2017 PATH received contributions of $36-million, giving them a revenue of $47.7 million. PATH then paid out $25-million in annual salaries which is 52-percent of their total budget.
Those in a position to benefit from these measures helped elect to Congress one of their own, Katie Hill who touted her homeless outreach efforts without specifics on her campaign page.
Hill received close to $9 million in campaign funding when she ran for Congress in 2018, compared to approximately $1.6 million received by long term incumbent Maxine Waters. Interestingly, more than $528,000 in campaign donations to Hill came from New York. Hill’s campaign used homelessness to launch her into Congress and obtained donations from major players like Facebook who donated over $8,000 as well as major media organizations like NBC, SONY, and Disney.
*** In the 2017 IRS 990 form, Joel Roberts’ salary is $209,567 plus benefits $31,803. Benefits includes medical, dental, and retirement contribution to 403B account. Roberts contributed $100 to Bonin campaign in 2015.
PATH also has two related entities that help them funnel more money to their employees.
PATH Ventures is a real estate holding and development company and has an annual revenue of $1.8 million. Then there is PATH Partners which has an annual revenue of only $4,000 but shows grant support reaching $2.6 million.
Combing through article after article, there is a common theme among the Democrat leaders in positions to help the homeless; they all state their work has been successful because they have raised millions of dollars, and hire more staff. They gloat about the increased programs that focus on homelessness or studies. However, the real problem is that the funds to help those in need are not flowing downstream to those in the streets.
The Trump Administration pointed this out in the fall of 2019. Current studies report 59,000 people lack permanent housing in L.A. County. Within the city of Los Angeles, the numbers have grown to 36,000.
Carson and the Trump Administration have been questioning the states policies. In September, Carson wrote to Governor Gavin Newsom, “You are seeking more Federal dollars for California from hardworking American taxpayers but fail to admit that your state and local policies have played a major role in creating the current crisis.”
On Dec, 20 HUD released a report, “Homelessness increased in California by 21,306 people, or 16.4 percent, accounting for more than the entire national increase.
The estimated number of persons experiencing long-term, chronic homelessness increased 8.5 percent between 2018 and 2019. This increase was concentrated on the West Coast, with the largest increases in California.”
In a follow up article we will review the housing projects already approved or being proposed to curb the homeless epidemic in Los Angeles.
*** Correction: California Globe reported Roberts “was making close to $411,000, not including his benefits. Roberts contributed $100 to Bonin campaign in 2015.” PATH communications team contacted the Globe and said, “In the 2017 IRS 990 form, his salary is $209,567 plus benefits $31,803. Benefits includes medical, dental, and retirement contribution to 403B account.”
Reporter Mears also noted in the tax returns PATH spent $933,075 for hotels for Roberts’ clients in 2017