LA Mayor Resorts To Asking Residents to Fund Homeless Housing

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass
Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass | Image by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images for National Urban League

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass has launched a new campaign asking the city’s wealthiest residents to fund housing for the homeless.

In a State of the City Address delivered Monday, she announced a new capital campaign titled LA4LA, which seeks an “unprecedented partnership” with Los Angeles’ “most fortunate” residents to tackle the homeless crisis.

The new initiative asks private businesses and philanthropic organizations to help the city get the homeless off the streets by financially backing the construction of housing options for them.

“We have brought the public sector together, and now we must prevail on the humanity and generosity of the private sector,” Bass said at the address.

Los Angeles is notorious for having one of the worst homeless crises in the country.

“Los Angeles County’s homelessness situation is unlike any other in the United States,” said a report by McKinsey & Company. The March 2023 report showed that Los Angeles has an estimated homeless population of 69,000 people. That breaks down to about 1 in every 150 Los Angeles residents experiencing homelessness.

By the time LA hosts the 2028 Olympic Games, it is projected to have more than 100,000 homeless residents. More than five people experiencing homelessness lose their lives each day. At the time of the report, the homeless population of Los Angeles was growing by an estimated 20 people daily.

Bass was elected mayor in December 2022, when LA’s homeless population was nearly 40,000, according to her campaign. She had vowed to house 15,000 homeless people by the end of the first year of her term and end street encampments entirely. However, the homeless population in the city has only increased.

The failure of the local authorities to curb the issue led the LA Alliance for Human Rights, a coalition of businesses and private individuals, to sue the City and County of LA.

“At a time when the City and County of Los Angeles are spending record levels of taxpayer dollars to address homelessness, somehow the impacts to individuals and neighborhoods are only getting worse,” Daniel Conway, a spokesperson for the LA Alliance for Human Rights, told Fox News. “We are long past due for a hard look at how these dollars are being spent, and the programs used to do the work.”

The legal action ended with a historic settlement in federal court and an order from U.S. District Judge David O. Carter for a sweeping independent audit of LA’s homelessness programs, alleging that the City had not taken sufficient action to curb the crisis.

The LA City Council responded in April by agreeing to pay the outside firm selected by Carter $2.2 million to audit its programs, according to Fox.

Yet, the transparency issues extend beyond the county and city levels. A California state audit report published this month found that the state failed to track the billions of dollars spent fighting the homelessness crisis in the past five years.

A senior spokesperson for the California Interagency Council on Homelessness, an organization that oversees the implementation of homeless resources and services across the state, told Fox News Digital that local governments are to blame.

The spokesperson stated that the local governments “are primarily responsible for implementing these programs and collecting data on outcomes that the state can use to evaluate program effectiveness.”

Dallas is no stranger to its own issues with homelessness. A poll previously conducted by The Dallas Express shows that more than 75% of Dallas residents are dissatisfied with the levels of homelessness, vagrancy, and panhandling in their neighborhoods and throughout the city.

Cities such as San Antonio have seen success with a “one-stop-shop” approach to combating homelessness. The model has been credited with a 77% reduction in unsheltered homelessness in the city’s downtown area. The one-stop-shop approach has polled favorably among Dallas residents; however, it is unclear if City officials will give the model a try.

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