Los Angeles Councilman Joe Buscaino, with fellow Councilman Paul Koretz, presented a motion to — in his words — file divorce papers against the LA Homeless Services Authority or LAHSA on Friday.
“I am tired of seeing what I see on our streets today,” Buscaino said. “1,300 people lost their lives on our streets. Over half of our fires today involve dangerous encampments. We’re not connecting people to services.”
Complaints against the city and county joint agency have increased in recent years. In 2019, the NBC4 news I-Team first reported the LA City Controller, Ron Galperin, audit that the organization was falling far short of its own goals.
“We’re not getting enough results, and we have to get better,” Galperin said.
The audit showed the agency’s goal of getting 50% of people they meet into housing wasn’t even close to the actual 3% they helped. In the county side, supervisors have been discussing restructuring their own agreement with LAHSA, arguing that in February of last year, they felt the agency did more for the city of LA than it did for the county, which provides 70% of its funding.
“On paper it looked good, the joint power aspect, but in reality there were problems from day one,” Kathryn Barger, LA County Supervisor, said.
On Thursday LAHSA sent an email out to supporters asking them to put pressure on Governor Newsom for an additional billion dollars in funding, and in a statement to NBC4, executive director Heidi Marsten touted the agency’s success of housing 66,000 people over the last three years and argued for a way to cut through red tape for faster paths to housing.
Councilman Buscaino says he wants the city to create its own agency, one that can be held accountable to city council.
“The 15 member body of the LA City council is completely detached from the decision-making, and at the same time our residents and business owners are turning to us to solve the homeless crisis. I’ve heard enough, I’ve seen enough, and quite frankly, I’ve had enough,” Buscaino added.