Kerjon Lee, Public Affairs Manager, reported on Los Angeles’ Proposition HHH as a $1.2 billion bond measure to build housing for the homeless. Unfortunately, only $250,000,000 is earmarked for homeless housing while the rest is a plan for low-cost housing, which, in the LA area is unaffordable to most people. Prop. HHH is a smoke screen and ruse perpetrated by LA and now enjoined by LA County, supported by a mayor and City Council who were elected three years ago to address the homeless problem.
With perfect timing, just in time to run for reelection, they have dreamed up a scheme that will take care of a fraction of the 25,000 homeless in LA over the next ten years. Prop. HHH is really a giveaway to the contractors and entrepreneurs who have overdeveloped our city as well as Santa Monica (and who contribute to reelection campaigns) into a gridlocked nightmare that is not a paradise anymore. The homeless has increased 12% in the past year alone. The problem will still be here in ten years with and without Prop. HHH, which will require a $2 billion payback.
What is not addressed by Mayor Garcetti’s “Housing First” initiative is the failure to supply food, healthcare, showers and toilet facilities to the homeless, priorities essential to restoring dignity. In addition, the young homeless, the most rapidly growing age group in the beach area, are generally not interested in permanent housing or a residence away from the beach, where they now live and play. And what about the failed public housing in Chicago and Detroit, where 20-story structures have been imploded to make way for lesser projects that hopefully will not fail?
There are almost 50,000 homeless in LA County. Homelessness is a national disgrace that requires a coordinated effort with the states and the federal government. LA cannot effectively deal with the tragedy of homelessness alone, but must work with all levels of government. When almost half of the homeless have tents or other protective aids, tent cities can be mobilized quickly, efficiently and effectively in our cities and counties with responsibility and commitment by the less fortunate among us, who will have food, healthcare, a stake (job) and the other amenities every community must have. Mayor Garcetti and his minions had three years to come up with a rational plan that didn’t break the bank. He missed the boat and should not be allowed back onto it.
Jerome P. Helman, M.D.