As Crisis Grows Worse Under Mayor Bass, LA City Council Extends Homeless Emergency Declaration

‘Inside Safe’ a housing first program, has spent $34 million of the initial $50 million in funding

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The Los Angeles City Council extended the city’s homeless emergency declaration on Tuesday, while also tightening the leash on Mayor Karen Bass’ Inside Safe initiative by asking for more frequent reports on how the floundering program is going.

Chief Administrative Officer Matthew Szabo appeared before the City Council on Tuesday to give a report on how Inside Safe, a “housing first” homelessness initiative that places many homeless in hotels and motels, was doing. So far, since it began five months ago, Szabo has said that 1,205 homeless people have been placed into program housing, with 11 housing fairs and 15 encampment sweeps occurring since the same time.

In addition, the program has also spent $34 million of the initial $50 million in funding. The largest chunk, $12.8 million, has been spent on 22,437 hotel room nights in 25 hotels and motels around the city. Other large expenditures in the program have surrounded the Grand Hotel, with $6.4 million going towards the contract extension with the hotel for another year of housing homeless following the end of a Project Roomkey contract and $3.2 going to service providers at the hotel.

“Based on the work that’s been done since April 28, the homeless emergency account will incur $34 million of obligation,” added Szabo on Tuesday. “By June 30, the city is projected to expend approximately $44 million overall.”

Deputy Mayor for Housing Mercedes Marquez also noted that 15 more affordable and permanent housing projects had been streamlined for approval recently, adding to the hundreds of other projects currently under Inside Safe to reduce homelessness.

However, many on the Council stressed that more reports on how Inside Safe was doing would be needed, as this was only the second report to the Council on the program in the last five months. While the Council had originally wanted bi-weekly reports on Inside Safe spending, it has not happened, with the program only averaging a new report every two to three months. With the Council expected to vote on the city budget for the next fiscal year, which includes a proposed $1.3 billion in homeless funding by Bass, of which $250 million would go to Inside Safe, the need to see how the money is being allocated is higher than ever.

Inside Safe funding questions

“This is such a big program, yet they are only giving a few reports on what is happening with it,” said “Miguel,” a staffer at the Los Angeles City Hall, to the Globe on Wednesday. “The program is going to see a huge jump in funding too, and a lot of people here are concerned about it. Everyone wants to reduce homelessness and get people off the street, but the way they are going about doing it is really divisive. It may look like everyone working for the city is 100% behind inside safe, but that is not the case. We’re seeing the crisis grow worse under Bass and stories trickle back to us of so many people refusing to be housed through the program. There needs to be more accountability and management, and the way you do that is through the frequent reports that the Council wanted.”

Overall, the program has been unpopular, with everyone from hotel and motel owners to even homeless people largely against the program.

“It’s pretty telling from only the handful of hotels that actually agreed to do this and the number of people choosing to stay in the street that this program has problems,” added Maurice, who helps run a church-based shelter in LA, to the Globe on Wednesday. “But I regularly talk with others who run shelters, the homeless, and even some motel owners. There is just too much red tape and restrictions to make it viable. For example, so many homeless people leave those shelters because they’re so restrictive that it hurts their ability to get and maintain jobs.”

Click here to read the full article in the California Globe


  1. Amy Sellers says

    City Officials and Social Workers have gone door to door telling even the most affluent apartment dwellers not to pay their rent because they can’t be evicted. Sadly, this impacts investors who were buiding more housing.
    If the city wants to attract investment, it needs to foster an environment of trust, contract enforcement, and rule of law. That’s what makes capitalism work. And as we know Capitalism isn’t perfect, it’s just better than any other option for creating opportunity and growth.

  2. The cost per hotel room per night is very high. A public/private partnership would be much more cost effective with a large scale permanent family like the SEARS Building at Soto and Olympic. Why hasn’t the city responded to this proposed project?
    Bill Taormina
    Clean City, Inc.

  3. Bill Taormina says

    The cost per day per hotel stay is VERY expensive. Over $500 per night based on the numbers in the article. A public private partnership like what was proposed by Izek Shomof and Bill Taormina for the SEARS building at Soto and Olympic would count this cost by 75% and offer dozens of services to boot!

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