LA mayor asks wealthy ‘public sector’ to buy housing for homeless after blowing through taxpayer bucks

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass sparked mockery by using her annual State of the City address this week to ask the wealthy to pay to house the homeless.

“[S]he unveiled a new campaign that asks business leaders, philanthropic organizations and others to donate millions of dollars to an effort to acquire buildings so they can be used as apartments for the city’s homeless population,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

“We have brought the public sector together,” she said at a reportedly packed City Council meeting. “And now we must prevail on the humanity and generosity of the private sector.”

The problem, critics say, is that millions have already been spent but to no avail. Indeed, since Bass assumed office in December of 2022, she’s spent at least $1.3 billion on “initiatives to address the homelessness crisis.” Critics want to know where exactly that money went.

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Despite the criticism, Bass remains convinced her plan will work. In fact, during the Monday speech, she touted how one initiative, the Inside Safe program, has moved over 21,000 homeless people from the streets and into temporary shelters.

“She insisted this ‘strategy’ and ‘system’ moving the homeless into temporary housing would eventually end the homelessness crisis in Los Angeles,” according to Fox News.

“Right now, we’re working to move past nightly rentals,” she continued. “We are asking the most fortunate Angelenos to participate in this effort, with personal, private sector and philanthropic funds – to help us acquire more properties, lower the cost of capital and speed up housing.”

“This is the mission of our new capital campaign, LA4LA. LA4LA can be a sea change for Los Angles, an unprecedented partnership to confront this emergency, an example of disrupting the status quo to build a new system to save lives,” she added.

All this comes days out from the L.A. Alliance for Human Rights, a coalition of local business owners and residents, filing a lawsuit demanding the city pay a $6.4 million fine for not doing enough about homelessness.

“Alleging more than a year of foot-dragging by Los Angeles officials, lawyers for a group of businesses and residents are asking a federal judge to fine the city nearly $6.4 million over its failure to live up to a nearly 2-year-old settlement agreement to clean up homeless camps,” The Times reported.

“For more than a year, the motion contends, the city stalled, then tried to back out of the district-by-district commitment as Bass pursued a citywide program to clean up encampments,” according to The Times.

“The City obstructed efforts to establish critical encampment milestones and created far fewer beds than it promised to,” the complaint reads. “This was an egregious violation of both the letter and the spirit of the agreement and there must be consequences to ensure that defendants are not emboldened to further ignore their commitments.”

All this also comes days after a state audit found that the state’s exorbitant investments in the homeless appear to have done very little.

“California has spent $24 billion over the past five years dedicated to the state’s homelessness crisis, including funneling money toward supporting shelters and subsidizing rent,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

Yet the homeless population grew by a whopping six percent between 2022 and 2023, according to federal data.

As for local data, there is none because California “failed to adequately monitor the outcomes of its vast spending on homelessness programs,” the L.A. Times notes.

“A new report from the California State Auditor’s Office found that a state council created to oversee the implementation of homelessness programs has not consistently tracked spending or the outcomes of those programs,” according to The Times.

“That dearth of information means the state lacks pertinent data and that policymakers ‘are likely to struggle to understand homelessness programs’ ongoing costs and achieved outcomes,” the outlet reported Tuesday.

Vivek Saxena

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