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Los Angeles Spends $100 Million A Year On The Homeless

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Los Angeles spends over $100 million per year on issues related to its homeless population, according to a recent assessment by the city.The 21-page report was authored by City Administrative Officer Miguel A. Santana, and might be the first time the city ever had ever taken such a wide look at the way multiple city services and agencies handle homelessness and its costs. While the majority of it—up to $87 million—goes towards arrests, patrols, and mental health interventions, the cost of handling the homeless also falls upon libraries, parks, and paramedics. "There appears to be no consistent process across city departments for dealing with the homeless or with homeless encampments," said the report.

With multiple city agencies handling this issue, the resources are not managed efficiently without any streamlining. "We're spending more than $100 million to manage the problem. How can we better align the money to address the outcomes we want to achieve?" Santana said to the L.A. Times.

The report also criticized city services for not proactively combating the homeless issue. "Responses to homelessness by city departments are not designed to end homelessness by systematically connecting the homeless to assessment, services, and housing," it read. "People need to understand it is more humane and cost-effective to help people become not homeless," retired UCLA law professor Gary Blasi told the Times.

"Under Villaraigosa the city has been completely AWOL on treating the homeless, and I can't say [Garcetti] has done much more," said Mark Ryavec, president of Venice Stakeholders Association.

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The report goes on to recommend that the city devote more resources towards outreach for the homeless population, including a centralized office and localized, neighborhood outposts. It also suggests hiring outside consultants to monitor the city's efforts.

According to CBS 2, Los Angeles' homeless population was estimated to be at least 20,000.