The recent homeless count in Los Angeles revealed that homelessness increased by 16 percent from 2013 to the present; the unsheltered homeless population has nearly tripled. For those of us who have noticed an increasing number of tents propped up along our sidewalks, and too many recreational vehicles parked along our streets, we are not surprised.
With so many homelessness initiatives in the past dozen years, should we not be surprised?
For the last 20 years, I have led a homeless and housing organization based in Los Angeles called PATH. During this period, I have worked with four Los Angeles city mayors, participated in seven Point-in-Time (PIT) homeless counts, and seen numerous homeless initiatives come and go in the city and the county.
In 2003, Los Angeles put together a Blue Ribbon Panel, which I was part of, to create a “ten-year plan to end chronic homelessness”. The plan proposed creating 50,000 housing units at a cost of $12 billion. Clearly, our political leaders did not have the appetite to endow such a plan. In the end, this initiative stayed on some bureaucrat’s bookshelf. Read More »