Staggering homeless count stuns LA officials

The stunning increase in homelessness announced in Los Angeles this week — up 16% over last year citywide — was an almost incomprehensible conundrum given the nation’s booming economy and the hundreds of millions of dollars that city, county and state officials have directed toward the problem.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who campaigned intensively for the city initiative known as Proposition HHH that designated $1.2 billion over the next 10 years for units to house the homeless, described homelessness in an interview with CNN as “the biggest heartbreak for me and my city.”

statistics showed that the better-equipped city/county homeless crisis response system helped move 21,631 people into permanent housing last year.

Hmm …

  1. Take a city that’s already attractive to the homeless for several reasons.
  2. Add (and apparently keep) a promise to spend $120 million per year putting the homeless into homes.
  3. ???
  4. Wonder why homeless people flock to that city “despite” the promise.
Yes, I know that there are many reasons for homelessness that aren’t an uninterrupted straight-line conclusion from unemployment. Mental problems. Substance abuse problems. Other personal problems.
But it’s silly to assume that homeless people don’t act rationally based on circumstance and incentive.
If I was homeless on the west coast, I’d probably make a beeline for LA. The climate is nicer year-round than most places. There’s cheap or even “free” (at the rider boarding point) mass transit. It’s the second biggest metro in the US, so there are more and bigger agencies (government and private) doling out food, shelter beds, etc., and in a “booming economy” I’d expect job prospects (“legit” or otherwise) to be decent there.
Adding a promised $120 million per year in housing aid to that, however good the intention, is like pouring gasoline on an already existing fire. Of course¬†you’re going to get burnt.

Imported from the original KN@PPSTER