L.A. spends $100 million a year on homelessness

New city report gauges financial effects 

Los Angeles spends more than $100 million a year coping with homelessness, including as much as $87 million that goes to arrests, skid row patrols, and mental health interventions.

The Los Angeles Times reports that city librarians, recreation and parks, sanitation, and paramedics also devote significant resources to handling homeless people, without clear guidelines or a coordinated approach to guide them said the 21-page report. The report marks the first time the city had sought to gauge the full financial effects of its homelessness problem.

Many departments rely on emergency response teams from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, a city-county agency, to respond to community complaints. But the teams, drawn from just 19 people covering the entire county and supported by $330,000 in city general fund money, are ill-equipped to respond adequately. The report said, “There appears to be no consistent process across city departments for dealing with the homeless or with homeless encampments.” 

It was commissioned by the City Council’s housing committee, which questioned why the homeless population, now 23,000, grew 9 percent between 2011 and 2013 even as the city contributed millions to the homeless authority. 

The report also said it was not possible “to get a full measure of the costs” of homelessness for the city, or to monitor the effects of changes in homelessness over time in L.A.


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