L.A Controller, Ron Galperin: L.A. Must Improve its Homeless Housing Plan

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September 15, 2020
Meeting the Moment with Prop. HHH

By overwhelmingly approving Prop. HHH in 2016, Los Angeles’ voters authorized City officials to issue up to $1.2 billion in general obligation bonds with the aim of reducing homelessness by building, buying, or remodeling supportive housing and other facilities, including interim housing. The measure provided for citizen oversight and a yearly financial audit by the City Controller.
 
Today, L.A. Controller Ron Galperin released his 2020 report on the current HHH strategy, calling on the City to develop an action plan that will reduce costs and provide more immediate relief to people experiencing homelessness. Controller Galperin first scrutinized HHH last October and recommended reallocating funds to lower-cost projects and cutting red tape to speed up permitting.
 
“Nearly four years after voters approved spending a billion plus dollars to reduce homelessness, only three new housing projects are open and most won’t begin welcoming homeless Angelenos for two, three or even four more years,” said Controller Galperin. “Meanwhile, the crisis has gotten far worse, compounded by pressing COVID-19 health and safety concerns. To truly reduce homelessness, the City must pivot to an action plan that will house more people right away. We cannot stay the course when people are dying every day on our streets.”
 

Read the 2020 HHH Report
 
Where We Stand

Despite hundreds of millions of public dollars spent yearly to alleviate homelessness in the City of Los Angeles, 45% more people are experiencing homelessness today than when Prop. HHH passed in 2016 — and thousands of people have died on the streets. Some communities — particularly L.A.’s Black and Native American populations — are disproportionately impacted by homelessness and not getting the help they need with HHH.
 
HHH projects are currently taking between three and six years to complete and some developers have asked for extensions ranging from 42 days to more than a year. At this pace, nearly 80% of all units will not open until 2022 or later. Even when every HHH unit is built, tens of thousands of Angelenos will still lack a roof over their head — highlighting the need for a more strategic approach to using HHH funds. If nothing changes, delays will continue, costs will keep rising and the unhoused population will climb.
 

View the 2020 Homeless Count
 
Mapping HHH Projects and Costs

Along with the report, Controller Galperin created a story map with graphs and interactive maps showing the cost and status of the City’s 111 HHH projects. Users can click on a pin to view information about each project, including the developer’s name, the cost, the development status, and the total and per-unit HHH amount associated with it.
 
Since October 2019, the first three HHH-funded projects were completed and are (or will soon be) providing homes and supportive services to a mix of formerly homeless individuals, seniors, families, youth and individuals with mental health conditions. The projects provide a total of 179 supportive units and 49 non-supportive units, and the average HHH subsidy was approximately $7 million.
 

Explore the HHH Story Map
 
A Plan for Rapid Housing

The City's most vulnerable residents are suffering on the streets as a global pandemic continues to ravage the region. They deserve a housing strategy that addresses this reality.
 
Controller Galperin is continuing to call on City leaders to reallocate funds from high-cost projects. He's also urging them to adopt a simple, short-term action plan to utilize the remaining tens of millions in bond funds and any additional money returned from unsuccessful projects to provide more immediate relief to people experiencing homelessness:

  • Build more interim housing and facilities to rapidly get thousands of people off the streets while supportive units are built. This will help meet health, hygiene, sanitation and storage needs for the unhoused population.
  • Rehabilitate and repurpose existing buildings, like hotels/motels, and unused commercial and office space that could be far cheaper and faster to convert into homeless housing.
Learn about rapid housing alternatives
 
HHH Report in the News

Controller Galperin sat down with Joel Grover of NBC4 LA's I-Team to discuss his latest report.

The price tag for some of Los Angeles' housing for the homeless is expected to hit a whopping $746,000 per unit, far more than the cost of building some luxury high rise condos in downtown.

"It is not acceptable to me, nor should it be acceptable to any of the people of Los Angeles," Galperin told NBC4.

 

Watch the full story