Five years after Los Angeles voters approved a $1.2 billion bond measure and a countywide sales tax hike to raise another estimated $355 million annually to solve its homelessness problem, there are more people living and dying on the streets than ever before.
Many of these men and women are both frequent targets and perpetrators of violence.
Mayor Eric Garcetti (D), who did not respond to our interview request, has partially blamed this failure on the pandemic, which slowed new housing construction and limited shelter capacity. It’s true that COVID caused a surge in homelessness, but the city’s plan was already failing.
In 2019, homelessness spiked 13 percent in L.A. County.
“This [was] happening way before the pandemic,” says Deisy Suarez, the proprietor of Desuar Day Spa in downtown L.A. “There [are] tents popping up in places that we didn’t see [them] before. It’s just getting worse and worse.”
The centerpiece of L.A.’s plan was to spend the $1.2 billion raised through Proposition HHH to build 10,000 supportive housing units over a decade. Even if the government were able to pull that off, it would merely put a dent in the problem in a city where more than 30,000 people are living on the streets and sidewalks according to the 2020 homelessness count.
Listen to the insightful Thomas Paine Podcast Below --