December 9, 2022 #1 Local News, Information and Event Source for the Century City/Westwood areas.

Column: Time to Abolish LAHSA Is Now!

Undercounts by this bloated bureaucracy confirms an inability to solve the crisis of homelessness and encampments here in Venice and LA!

By Nick Antonicello

How does a government agency rely on securing an accurate count of the Los Angeles homeless population with volunteers on a single evening?

Having participated in four previous counts, why would an agency dedicated to solving this crisis not approach a homeless population survey much like how the federal government conducts census counts that have a far greater degree of reliability and accuracy?

For how hard is it to conduct a reliable and accurate count and why must these observations be made in the evening and not during the day?

It is a fundamental question that needs to be answered as Los Angeles considers new leadership in City Hall with a new Mayor as well as new members on the fifteen-member LA City Council.

While new leadership that has just arrived at the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), the larger question is this agency designed to maintain the status quo of this huge encampment population, or was it created to solve a problem that is now completely out of control?

For the whole delivery system of services with LAHSA in charge and the numerous service providers that are equally unaccountable and under the radar, is our city leadership willing to abolish a floundering agency and it’s collection of not-for-profits that don’t seem much interested in actual results?

For LAHSA, a super governmental agency of sorts created in 1993 with over 300 employees, 830 individuals, and 240 teams has been designated for nearly 30 years to provide sensible outreach or at least manage this out-of-control housing crisis that is not working!

The former executive director was paid handsomely, over $260,000 annually and reported to a 10-member commission of county and city officials whose mission it is to provide oversight as well as implement policies that would change the direction of homelessness, but as the dollar investment in this cottage industry of homelessness swells, where is a modicum of results?

For beyond the obvious ability to accurately count this street population, what are the standards, goals or objectives driven by real data that is reliable to adapt policies that actually assist and help the most vulnerable?

For agencies like LAHSA seem to suggest more money is at the core of their inability to make a serious dent in the encampment population, no matter what the circumstances. It is a frustrating process in which the public at-large has waited some thirty years for this bureaucracy to offer any sense of tangible progress.

With most policymakers and elected officials acknowledging that the construction of permanent housing is slow if not off line, where is the plan to move this population inside and grab hold of a process that does not tolerate the scourge of living on sidewalks?

Currently, the federal government spends some $9 billion dollars on homeless services and the state of California $7.2 billion. LAHSA is currently managing $800 million with $366 from LA County and $303 million from LA City. The federal government in addition kicks in $37 million to LAHSA and another $95.3 million from Sacramento.

For where is all this money going?

Employees and salaries?  

California has roughly 161,000 homeless individuals and that represents 27% of the entire homeless population of the United States.

In 2020 41,290 homeless individuals lived in LA with roughly 2,000 here in Venice. The irony of the homeless equation is that the entire amount of those on the street represents just 0.4% of the state population.  

For the true problem is one of managed and intentional containment.

Places like Los Angeles and in particular Venice are assuming the responsibility of this crisis and LAHSA seems to lack any plan of attack to address where homelessness is at epidemic levels as we come out of the pandemic.

And why is permanent housing not happening?

The answer is obvious, an expenditure so toxic due to selecting the most expensive of locales has permanent housing costs at roughly $837,000 per unit for single dwellers with that number increasing each and every day!

For the time for full disclosure and transparency regarding the whole process of managing the homeless dilemma is obvious and apparent.

LAHSA is a failed proposition and our elected officials must stop enabling a process that is dysfunctional and broken.

A data-driven approach must be considered and implemented no matter who is elected this November if we are to have a serious and reliable plan of action that decreases and eventually eliminates the street population that can no longer be tolerated and accepted as a part of a problem that has exhausted neighborhoods like Venice and beyond.

The time to dismantle LAHSA with a data-driven process that addresses mental illness, drug and alcohol recovery, and the influence of gang violence in these encampments needs to happen now.

The politics of homelessness must take a back seat and serious policy makers who are willing to take on the cottage industry of the unhoused should take a wrecking ball to this agency that has failed for three decades along with the service providers who are equally unaccountable, ineffective and picking the pockets of taxpayers must cease and desist.

Nick Antonicello is a longtime Venetian who serves on the Outreach and Oceanfront Walk Committees of the Venice Neighborhood Council (www.venicenc.org) and covers issues like homelessness and how it effects Venice. Have a take or a tip? You can e-mail Antonicello at nantoni@mindspring.com

in Opinion
Related Posts

Column – Gas Gougers Beware: California Is Onto You at Last

November 11, 2022

November 11, 2022

By Tom Elias It has taken more than 50 years of on-and-off gasoline price gouging, but at long last California...

$87,581,047.01: Candidate Rick Caruso on Pace to Smash All Spending Records in His Bid to Become Mayor of Los Angeles

November 4, 2022

November 4, 2022

Caruso overwhelming Bass nearly 10-1! By Nick Antonicello According to the LA Ethics Commission as of October 31st, billionaire developer...

Column: Money & Messaging That Is Persuasive and Memorable May Just Make Rick Caruso Our Next Mayor!

October 25, 2022

October 25, 2022

Moving away from direct mail, Caruso saturates broadcast television with a more disciplined message that is resonating with an angry...

Column: Excess School Lands for Teacher Housing?

October 22, 2022

October 22, 2022

By Tom Elias, Columnist Do voters want more teachers living in their communities, even if it means a little more...

Column: What Next for LA?

October 18, 2022

October 18, 2022

By Nick Antonicello The ongoing racism scandal that has engulfed and swallowed city government whole could be an opportunity in...

Column: Racist Remarks Have No Place in Politics or Government

October 14, 2022

October 14, 2022

The ugly side of our discourse rears its head once again! By Nick Antonicello Some thirty years ago Rodney King...

Column: The Sixty Million Dollar Man!

October 3, 2022

October 3, 2022

Caruso’s crushing ad buy obliterates all spending records by one candidate for the office of Mayor of LA By Nick...

Column: The Endorsement Sham Belittles a Productive Dialogue in the Race for LA County Sheriff!

September 30, 2022

September 30, 2022

LA Times endorsement of Robert Luna is a farce, bordering on the political absurd! By Nick Antonicello Endorsements by newspapers...

Column: “Justice Does Matter”

September 7, 2022

September 7, 2022

Judicial candidate Patrick Hare seeks “collaborative versus adversarial” court system for LA County! By Nick Antonicello LA Public Defender Patrick...

West LA Dems Deliver Overwhelming Endorsement of Erin Darling, Receives 80.6% of Club Ballots

August 16, 2022

August 16, 2022

Darling picks up additional labor support, Park secures the endorsement of California Treasurer Fiona Ma! By Nick Antonicello On a...

Column: Time to Crack Down on Vacant Homes’ Owners

August 12, 2022

August 12, 2022

By Tom Elias, Columnist ​​There is no doubt California has a housing shortage. That’s fact even in the wake of...

Column: Iconic Legislative Leader Seeks to Represent West LA on County Board of Supervisors

August 12, 2022

August 12, 2022

Senator Bob Hertzberg plans to use his political capital to address homelessness, housing, public safety, jobs, and other quality-of-life concerns...

Review: A Santa Monica Restaurant’s New Happy Hour is Top-Notch

August 10, 2022

August 10, 2022

By Dolores Quintana Birdie G’s in Santa Monica has a new Happy Hour and it is something special. For one...

Missouri Place: Let’s Celebrate a Real Victory

August 10, 2022

August 10, 2022

Brentwood resident Tom Safran is known for being a world-class builder of affordable housing.  He is really in the business...

Column: “Temperament & Patience” Define Judicial Candidate Lyons Yearning for Public Service!

July 26, 2022

July 26, 2022

Judicial candidate Melissa Lyons has a different perspective as she sees the application of justice upfront in her current role...