My Views About the Homeless Crisis: $600,000 Apartments for People Just Coming Off the Streets??!! Unbelieveable.
The City Attorney’s office in league with the Mayor and City Council basically threw the doors open to permit unchecked homeless encampments in Los Angeles. They’ve turned many public areas of our city into toilets. Unbelievable.
Look at Santa Monica and Culver City: Their sidewalks and parks are NOT over-run with homeless encampments. Our homeless crisis is the product of astoundingly weak leadership influenced by a small minority of loud activists.
And let’s be absolutely clear: the City Attorney’s office is not a social service agency, nor is it a public housing provider. Its role in “solving” the city’s homeless crisis is limited.
However, here is what I would do
Dedicate a task force of City Attorney staff to quickly provide the legal advice and assistance City Councilmembers need in order to successfully and lawfully dismantle hundreds of encampments throughout the city under the city’s new anti-camping ordinance. Input from the City Attorneys office is critical to avoiding lawsuits filed by homeless advocates alleging encampments were improperly dismantled.
Too often you hear complaints that the City Attorney’s office moves at a snail’s pace to provide the legal advice needed to get things moving. I won’t let that happen when it comes to helping remove homeless encampments.
I will see to it that energy and staff are mobilized so we can quickly clean up the city while doing so within the parameters of the law.
Demand the city council amend the city’s anti-camping law to add a provision barring homeless camping within 250 feet of a subway entrance, bus shelter or bus stop/bench. We should also explore if we can ban homeless lying, sleeping etc. inside subway stations located in the city of Los Angeles.
Our city leaders claim they want to fight climate change by encouraging mass transit ridership. But when the homeless are sleeping on bus benches and outside subway entrances that discourages ridership. Why should a female bus rider have to wait for a bus surrounded by homeless drunks and drug addicts? Why should anyone for that matter? Let’s protect mass transit riders, not make them easy targets.
Suspend any agreements the city has with developers to build more gold-plated, $600,000/unit Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) projects.
Relying so heavily on PSH to get the homeless off the streets has been a hugely costly mistake: it has enriched developers building PSH units at more than $600,000+ a pop. And these developers are delivering units at a snail’s pace. We now only have about 2,000 such units that are ready for occupancy when the politicians promised us 10,000 units!
It would not be surprising if our elected officials, after exhausting our Prop HHH tax dollars on PSH housing boondoggles, come back for a second-helping. If that were the case, I would use my position as City Attorney to loudly oppose any more PSH nonsense. If we’re going to spend more, it needs to be on transitional housing, like tiny homes, shared living spaces, hotel/motel rooms.
Also, expensive PSH housing should only be an option for those homeless who have first demonstrated that they are earnestly and actively participating in job training, substance abuse and/or mental health treatment programs. Living in a $600,000 PSH apartment should not be a gift but a reward to those who have first proved – while living in transitional housing – that they are trying to better their lives.
Ensure that the supportive (job training, substance abuse and mental health treatment) services that landlords of PSH housing are contractually obligated to provide to their formerly-homeless tenants are in fact provided. The way these programs are now set up there is no strong monitoring program in place to make sure landlords comply with their contractual obligations to provide these services. This is a consistent weakness at City Hall: rules are made but enforcement is lax or nonexistent.
Draft leasing contracts so that “permanent” supportive housing is not a forever deal. PSH housing residents should not be entitled to a lifetime tenancy. Once they can stand on their own two feet then their tenancy should end so others who are deserving can settle into these accommodations. PSH should only be a way-station on the road to a better life.