Los Angeles Audit Suggests Spending Money on Shelters
An audit released in October by the Los Angeles City Controller’s office recommended that some homeless projects be reevaluated to see if their budgets can be decreased so that less of the city’s $1.2 billion homeless housing bond is used. Los Angeles City Controller Ron Galperin found that over 1,000 units of housing approved for funding through Proposition HHH could top $600,000 apiece. Spending on shelters and other short-term facilities and services was stopped last year due to rising costs that threatened the bond program’s goal of supplying 10,000 supportive housing units for homeless people in 10 years. Galperin believes that any savings from the housing projects should be shifted to fund some of the more immediate needs of the city’s homeless population such as shelters, bridge housing, hygiene centers, and other service facilities. According to the audit,
Even as the city solicited and developed ideas to tackle these issues in more innovative ways, it continued to award Proposition HHH funds before some of the ideas could fully blossom. The city’s decision to push forward and conditionally award nearly all remaining funds represents a missed opportunity to maximize the impact of Proposition HHH.
The audit suggested that the city should evaluate whether it can revise homeless housing projects that are overly expensive and instead implement things such as shared housing, modular construction and simplified financing. Proposition HHH was approved by voters in November 2016, yet not a single new unit of homeless housing has been produced. The first two projects funded by the proposition are scheduled to be completed later this year. According to the Los Angeles Times, the audit blames the following things for the slow pace: “regulatory barriers, a limited pool of developers, cumbersome permitting processes, labor costs and litigation that has blocked a city ordinance intended to streamline homeless housing projects.” Hopefully, the city is able to fix these issues and the funds are used more wisely to help with the homelessness issue in the city.