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Mon, Jul

2024 LA Homeless Count Reveals Ineffective Solutions: Self-Reporting Estimates Highlight Ongoing Challenges 

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LOS ANGELES

WESTSIDE - After billions of dollars spent and squandered on this hapless effort to correct, reduce and eliminate encampments and RV living in Los Angeles, elected officials like Supervisor Lindsey Horvath are patting themselves on their back and taking proverbial victory laps for a 0.27% alleged reduction in the homeless population in LA County.  

For these “point in time” estimates appear at best over optimistic and at worst unreliable as the most important function of LAHSA is to accurately count the homeless population that should be done by a credible and independent, third-party entity that will bring legitimacy back to the process! 

It is an insult to all county residents that this kind of arrogant rhetorical spin would be promoted as real time progress! 

It is obvious what is being done does not work and bureaucrats like Dr. Va Lecia Adams Kellum and her $500,000 plus salary, perks and benefits be replaced and governmental white elephants like the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) be abolished and replaced by a far more workable agency that understands the problem and realizes that actual results matter!  

For doing the same thing over and over again with no tangible results as the answer to this crisis is a moral abomination.  

For this is a city & county crisis that is not being addressed in a serious fashion and instead of taking accountability for this continued and systemic failure, especially when you consider self-reporting margins of error by these unsupervised volunteers, there is probably no reduction at all! 

But most importantly, there is zero neighborhood statistics or data regarding places such as Venice!  

How does one measure results when Venice, the ground zero of homelessness outside of Skid Row, remains a traffic jam of RVs on all of its major arteries such as Lincoln, Washington, Venice, Rose and Main?  

For why is specific data and information not being shared with Venice residents?   

Why is this information being withheld or denied?   

Councilwoman Traci Park (CD-11) has an obligation to this district and her constituents to publicly demand these year-over-year results so that there can be transparency and information that confirms things in this neighborhood are indeed improving.  

For it seems preposterous to think any organization, public or private can be trusted to fix a problem if real data and statistics are not the benchmark for those results.  

Her efforts since assuming office have been admirable when compared to the dysfunction and failure of her immediate predecessor who had no interest in making things better. The work we witnessed on Third, Hampton, and Flower prove things can be corrected as her staff has been accessible and communicates effectively with those most impacted by this complex and ongoing crisis here in Venice.  

For the efforts of the Councilwoman and her team are being undermined by this white elephant of an agency that has run amok and gone astray! 

For LAHSA’s insistence all governmental entities are all now sailing in the same direction is no standard at all.  

For the reform efforts of Park cannot be stifled by the bureaucracy of the downtown mindset that is detached from political reality.  

One would assume and expect governmental units bear cooperation, especially when the City of Los Angeles is appropriating now nearly $1.5 billion dollars to correct this crisis and not feed financially this headless monster known as the cottage industry of homelessness and the hundreds of so-called service providers getting fat on the public pad of never-ending spending and zero results!   

In 2022 we heard about performance-based standards and results for these service providers and these non-competitive contracts that are doled out without exception.  

Has a single service provider been fired or replaced in lieu of the lack of any change or progress?  

I have covered the Venice encampment crisis for years, and while I believe there has been some progress, where are the year-over-year statistics by LAHSA?  

Why are they not shared?  

And in terms of RV’s, the crisis has spiraled locally, and the Washington Blvd situation remains a proverbial merry-go-round of out-of-state vehicles that are not in compliance regarding licenses and registration, but continue to sit and fester on Venice Boulevard as well as other locations too many to cite here and why I continue to receive e-mails asking for assistance and help which are regularly forwarded to the proper city officials.   

For where is the incentive to correct the situation if no performance standards are reached or even remotely met, and why are those goals and objectives not public for all to see and judge?  

For elected officials must stand before the public every four years and be evaluated by voters.  

But what about these faceless, nameless service providers, bureaucrats and embedded municipal employees who get compensated no matter how awful the results?  

For why are these unworkable practices that bear no results acceptable?  

At one point after nearly a decade at crisis levels will even a whiff of progress take place and where are the action steps to right this floundering and sinking ship known as LAHSA finally put out of its misery with new and accountable, transparent practices?   

When government cannot offer reliable information that is accurate, and then tell you things are better, it is truly confounding and disturbing.  

A 0.27% reduction is no decrease at all when you consider a margin of error by the volunteers asked to conduct the most important practices of this agency. A 2.2% decrease is just as disappointing and no reason to pop open the champagne either because what these results really say is nothing is fundamentally changing and what is being done is too little, too late.  

For third-party audits and counts need to replace the current methods. Service providers must be held accountable and be replaced and fired by city officials when applicable.  

These no real results standards are unacceptable, and a whole new approach must be created.  

Individuals like Mayor Karen Bass, Councilwoman Traci Park (CD-11) and LA County Supervisor Lindsey Horvath cannot accept these results, and greater accountability must be demanded and expected.  

For if they do not make it crystal clear more is demanded, nothing will change except the failed notion that more money will be the excuse why nothing changes. For this failure becomes that of those elected to change this homeless crisis now, and that Los Angeles is not embarrassed when the Summer Olympics arrive in 2028.  

(Nick Antonicello is a thirty-one-year resident of Venice who covers the current encampment and RV crisis here in the neighborhood. Have an encampment on your block or street? Contact him via e-mail at [email protected])