Amid Financial Distress, LA Mayor Proposes Steady Funding For Homelessness

A a row of homeless tents above the 101 Freeway earlier this month near downtown L.A. (Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images)

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Spending on homelessness by the City of Los Angeles will remain steady, despite the city's financial distress, underscoring a commitment to addressing the issue.

The budget line is projected to reach just shy of $430 million in the next fiscal year, up a little from $429 million the year before.

  • $179 million will come from voter approved Proposition HHH, which will be used to subsidize the construction of supportive housing for people who are homeless and particularly sick. (The proposition authorized the city to sell $1.2 billion in bonds to make this happen. So far, only one building has actually opened, but nearly 1,700 units are under construction in 24 other buildings.)
  • $113 million will come directly from the city's general fund, up from $106 million the year before.
  • Of this money, $38 million funds the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, which oversees individual case management, the annual homeless count, shelters and other services.
  • The remaining $75 million goes to individual city departments that have their own programs for working with homeless residents, including police and sanitation.
  • $100 million comes from the state of California. This money supplements the construction and operation of shelters for people experiencing homelessness, rental subsidies, and a myriad of other services.

Before we get too optimistic, though, remember this: most spending on homelessness in Los Angeles comes through the budget of L.A. County, not the city.

Last year hundreds of millions of dollars were spent on homeless services, housing subsidies and medical care. However, much of that money came from Measure H, which is funded by a $0.25 sales tax.

Given sales tax revenue is currently taking a big hit, it's difficult to know what the long-term economic effects of the coronavirus recession will have on homeless services.

Both the city and the county are hoping for greater help from the federal government.

For now, the federal government is largely picking up the tab for the hotel rooms at the center of local efforts to move the oldest and sickest people indoors. However, local officials have said there may be more funds from the federal government in coming months.

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