Mon, May

Homeless Spending: Less Cha-Ching, More Change-Bringing!


ALPERN AT LARGE - Contrary to the childish assertions of those screaming for MORE public spending on affordable housing while the homeless problem is getting WORSE, those of us who vote NO on those tax measures do so NOT because we’re heartless bastards who don’t care about the homeless…but rather it’s because we DO.

We just use our adult heads as well as our time-wizened hearts. 

Lot$ of money, you $ee, to $pend on the Homele$$, but not much money to actually fix the problem. 

Big fund$ to assert we’ll create “homele$$ hou$ing” and/or “affordable hou$ing” on the public dime, but not much money for the public $ector to actually re$olve the problem.

Because if the homele$$ get hou$ed, and if the newly-minted public $ector department$ at the $tate, County, and City level$ make thing$ better, then they’re out of their job$, aren’t they?

It’$ all about the fund-fund-funding, and not about the fix-fix-fixing, of the plight of the  homele$$ crowd$ growing in our $tate while being u$ed too often as pawn$ to get more worker$ and re$idents on the public dole.

The endle$$ fund-fund-funding i$ not $u$tainable, not $mart, and not at all rea$onable.

No more need for dollar $igns…you get the point.

Apologies to those who don’t have L.A. Times subscriptions, but whaddaya know? We just spent 15 or more billion dollars on the homeless in our state over the last five or so years without tracking where it went (LINK: https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2024-04-09/state-audit-california-fails-to-track-homeless-spending-billions-dollars)...

…and there’s NO evidence to show that the money was spent well.

No accountability, no evidence of favorable outcomes of the spending, and no likelihood it actually helped much of anyone in the big picture.

And the feds (hardly a beacon of responsible spending, but they’re a bit more aware of, and more likely to respect, cost-effective, responsible, and accountable public sector fiscal behavior, aren’t always reimbursing California’s cities and states for homeless spending without results to show for it (LINK: https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2024-03-12/fema-california-funding-housing-homeless-pandemic-congress-project-roomkey).

Most of the other United States want cost-effective homeless funding, and those among the homeless who want help to do their part while the rest of the citizenry does their part.

Hence we see other states dumping their homeless on us, and hence we see individuals willing to game the system pouring into our state, and hence we see more frustration by California taxpayers—many of whom are leaving the state, or are reeeeeeeeeeally thinking about it.

Critical thinking is for adults, and usually not comprehendible by children-politicians either in Sacramento or in downtown Los Angeles, or by those who childishly vote them in, and back in, and back in, and back in yet again…

…only to wonder why how, just HOW, could things get worse and worse.

Critical thinking is not taught in elementary schools, and critical thinking is not taught to sheep. 

A horrible thing for me to say, the adults among us are getting very frustrated in spending $400 million or more per homeless unit, and in hiring all sorts of people to EXPLOIT the homeless crisis while being without accountability to FIX it.

We’re also getting frustrated with non-Californians exploiting our childish naivete and getting financially rewarded to break the rules of morality and charity, or at least the intention of those rules, and states willing to dump their homeless on us. 

SOMEONE voted for these measures, and SOMEONE is more than happy to give in to the paradigm of “spend more money” to fix the problem instead of the paradigm of “will the money actually fix the problem, or even make it WORSE?”

But Californians throughout the political spectrum don’t want the homeless to suffer, and by extension those paying for the homeless to suffer as well, instead of spending on other dire priorities affecting our families and neighborhoods.

Too many tragic decisions are being made by those who vote to feed the fire, when they just intended to fix the fire. 

This never ending public spending effort is NOT WATER to put out the homeless fire, but rather it’s GASOLINE. 

PLEASE let’s help the homeless, starting not with the amount of money to be focused on, but rather on a focus to spend the money well, and with those assigned to that spending of the money held to strict and transparent account.


(Kenneth S. Alpern, M.D, is a dermatologist who has served in clinics in Los Angeles, Orange, and Riverside Counties, and is a proud husband and father. He was active for 20 years on the Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC) as a Board Member focused on Planning and Transportation, and helped lead the grassroots efforts of the Expo Line as well as connecting LAX to MetroRail. His latest project is his fictional online book entitled The Unforgotten Tales of Middle-Earth, and can be reached at [email protected]. The views expressed in this article are solely those of Dr. Alpern.)