Executive Director Peter Lynn of the Los Angeles Homeless Service Authority stepped down last week as homelessness explodes in the nation’s second-largest city.
However, his resignation was not a result of his failed efforts in fighting the crisis; it was for health-related issues. Lynn said he was proud of the work he has done – increasing the number of employees and their salaries instead of reducing the number of homeless.
In a written statement, Lynn stated, “Over these five years of explosive growth, LAHSA deployed more than $780 million in new funding to address homelessness. We doubled our staff and then doubled it again.“
As California’s homeless explosion only grows, so does the funding to organizations and projects whose leaders claim they can solve the problem. These leaders are also benefiting with high salaries from the crisis that could be considered partly “manufactured.
Lynn touts his time at the helm of LAHSA was successful because of the amount of money thrown at the homeless problem. Yet others are calling his tenure a failure because the city has seen a 33% increase in the homeless population.
In March of 2017, Measure H was passed by Los Angeles County voters. This quarter-cent sales tax is estimated to raise $355 million a year for 10-years to help homeless people transition into affordable housing units. Measure H also allowed $41.1 million to be advanced to LAHSA for Lynn to fund ramped-up services and operating expenses. However, the monies thrown at the homeless crisis have not helped those in need.
According to a study completed in June by the agency, Los Angeles had, on average, close to 60,000 people sleeping in tents, on the sidewalks, or in makeshift shelters, including government housing. An audit in August by the city’s controller reported the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority failed to meet their goals of placing transients in permanent housing.
During the past five years, Lynn was leading the LAHSA his annual salary was approximately $250,000.
A press release by LAHSA states the following are accomplishments Lynn helped produce:
• LAHSA deployed unprecedented new funding to address homelessness and is recognized as a national leader in best practices and system design.
• LAHSA led in doubling the number of housing placements in four years.
• LAHSA played a crucial role in the development of the City and County Homeless Strategies adopted in 2016 and informed the public of the resources needed by creating LA’s first homeless housing gaps analysis.
Lynn attributes part of his success to LAHSA becoming a joint powers authority with the City and County of Los Angeles.
In an interview in September with NBC’s Lester Holt, Mayor Garcetti shows off the city’s Homeless Command Center that resembles a 911 dispatch center.
Sarah Dusseault, chair of the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority Commission told the LA Times on Nov. 20 that she wants to “explore the possibility of blowing up the current system and designing one in which it’s clear who’s in charge.”
Dusseault, who was appointed in the summer, said LAHSA, which was created in 1993 to coordinate city and county services, spends a lot of money but it has no authority to design or implement a comprehensive strategy. Dussaeault accuses the Mayor and those tasked with fighting the homeless issue of pointing finger and ducking responsibility.
Dr. Benjamin Carson, who was sworn in as the 17th Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, visited Los Angeles in September. Dr. Carson blames the state and city leaders for exacerbating the homeless issue. Carson stated that California’s policies on law enforcement, illegal immigrants and housing have all increased the state’s homeless population.
Carson wrote in a letter 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.”
“Further, illegal and inadmissible aliens are increasing housing demand and draining resources,” the letter also states. “Instead of protecting the most vulnerable Americans from the economic impacts of illegal immigration, California has doubled down on sanctuary state and city policies and provided benefits to illegal and inadmissible aliens.”
Carson said in the letter that the Trump administration will help California but with stipulations:
“The Trump Administration is doing its part. 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.”
When President Trump visited California in September, he addressed the homeless issue. Trump called the situation “disgusting” and “a disgrace to our nation.”
California leaders blame Trump for housing cuts, cuts in food stamps, and welfare.
State Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) was very blunt in an interview with USA Today:
“Trump needs to back off and focus on his own mess of an administration,” Wiener said. “Rounding up homeless people into federal facilities won’t solve the problem. We need to get people the help they need, including shelter, housing, and other services.”
White House spokesman Judd Deere said in a statement that “like many Americans, the president has taken notice of the homelessness crisis, particularly in cities and states where the liberal policies of overregulation, excessive taxation and poor public service delivery are combining to dramatically increase poverty and public health risks.”
In quote after quote in multiple news publications, a pattern of excuses can be found from those in charge of fixing the homeless crisis in California.
• They don’t have enough money and need more funding.
• Trump is to blame for cutting federal funding
• Trump’s criticism on California’s leaders regarding homeless crisis is for political game.
Those who are in the position to help the homeless from non profits to city, county and state leaders all have one thing in common: money. They want more money for their projects that will give millions to builders, developers, and staff who enjoy six figure salaries.
The homeless crisis is a strain for the average California resident but at the same time is a booming business for others.
In a follow up article we will show who else has profited from Measure H with six figures salaries funded by millions of dollars meant to resolve the homeless epidemic plaguing Los Angeles.
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