Homelessness in LA is out of control. Despite taxpayers approving billions in spending to address the crisis, the situation has only deteriorated. Our government has failed to create adequate housing for our neighbors living outside. Existing nonprofits, despite best intentions, have been too constrained to have the broad impact necessary to address the issue at scale.
Although new government initiatives are now underway, the weight of existing bureaucracy means solutions are unlikely to be fast or sufficient. Much of the $1.2 billion of Proposition HHH money that voters approved for permanent supportive housing is being spent on $700,000+ units that take 5 years to build. And once units become available, housing authorities take 6 months on average to get an unhoused person into a vacant unit.
We need more housing now. Existing shelters are insufficient. The systems being used to track and provide services are archaic and ineffective. Services, while often well-resourced, are not getting to enough of the people that need them most. And not nearly enough is being done to meet basic needs for clean water, bathrooms, and trash pickup.
Homelessness may feel like a huge, intractable problem. There’s no denying that it will take a village to solve it. Our village just happens to be the largest county in the United States and one of the most culturally diverse communities in the world. Together, we can solve this crisis.
We will leverage innovative thinking, pragmatic solutioning, world-class technology, and hard work. As Abraham Lincoln once invoked “the better angels of our nature,” we must unite for the collective betterment of our community and the future of our City of Angels.