Despite billions from tax measures, L.A. County’s homeless problem is getting worse
According to a report, known as the Housing Gaps Analysis, by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, Los Angeles County’s homeless population is increasing faster than the supply of new housing. This increase comes even with the addition of thousands of beds in the last two years and millions of dollars beginning to flow in from two ballot measures targeting the issue. The report revealed that officials two years ago underestimated how much new housing would be needed when they asked city and county voters to approve the tax measures. According to an analysis of the report by the Los Angeles Times, this has resulted in a $73-million annual shortfall in funding for the county’s comprehensive homelessness program could more than triple.
The report claims that providing permanent housing for the county’s chronically homeless population would require over 20,000 new units, which is about 5,000 more than was projected two years ago. The Los Angeles Times, using estimates from the 2016 report, calculates that the additional costs could be around $200 million, which would push the annual shortfall to more than $270 million. Homeless advocates considered the countywide Measure H quarter-cent sales tax to be the best approach to raising money for homelessness, but the $355 million it is expected to generate each year falls short of meeting the county program’s estimated annual cost of $428 million. Los Angeles County supervisors will review the budget in June and they will definitely be facing hard choices. We will have to wait and see how the supervisors choose to deal with the homeless issue.