A homeless encampment in downtown Los Angeles on Nov. 15. (Luis Sinco / LAT)
It’s not the cost of real estate that gets in the way of building more housing
It’s not the mashup of jurisdictions involved
It’s not race that differentiates
Here’s what makes progress hard in Los Angeles:
No one’s in charge. No government or agency has the authority or mandate to assert leadership, set priorities and take decisive action in dealing with homelessness. Unlike Houston, Los Angeles has a weak-mayor system, no top-elected official in the county and no executive position with a comparable agenda-setting power. The many local bureaucracies involved are a confused tangle of mismatched authorities, responsibilities and resources.
L.A.’s compassion is conflicted: Proposition HHH is designed to create a large but well-groomed and well-mannered street population: dedicated parking lots, storage facilities for possessions, portable toilets, and drop-in and hygiene centers.
Every step that makes street homelessness a little less uncomfortable has the unintended consequence of drawing more people into the streets.
About a thousand of the 10,000 affordable units promised by Proposition HHH, passed in 2016, have been opened — at astronomical costs.