The Reality on Skid Row Since Home For Good Launch

I’ve tried to keep folks up to date on what is happening on Skid Row.  On September 28th, I wrote of a growing desperation on Skid Row in Los Angeles, a doubling in the number of people and an increase in crime and I shared,

”I attribute this to 3 major factors: the worsening economy bringing high unemployment and a lack of services to people in need, the one size fits all move to Housing First which has caused the limited resources available to move away from emergency services and to permanent supportive housing only, and the recent federal court ruling in favor of LACAN which protects the property of people experiencing homelessness to the extreme point that any type of clean up of Skid Row by anyone is not allowed.”

Today, I received an update from a dear friend of URM, Estela Lopez. Estela heads up the local Central City East Association, and her security officers are often 1st responders to difficult situations and have 1st hand information on Skid Row.  Estela wrote, “The downturn in the economy, the release of state prisoners, and the court injunction limiting removal of property is having a cumulative affect on skid row.  Some streets have become tent villages once again as they were prior to the 2006 implementation of the Safer Cities Initiative.  I had my staff do a quick re-cap of key indicators, comparing January 2011 to January 2012:

Abandoned property                  Up    158%

Encampments                           Up      97%

Illegal dumping                         Up    500%

LAFD Assistance                      Up   1000% (persons sick, injured or deceased)

LAPD Assistance                      Up    500%

As you may have gathered already, I would add to Estela’s list of causes the “Home For Good” push as one of the causes.  “Home For Good” backers, The United Way of LA and the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, as well as Federal and local government, strongly marketed “Home For Good” as the one size fits all solution to homelessness and even contrasted this new “better” solution to the “archaic” “ineffective” shelters and services that have failed to solve the problem in the past.  I even heard that now, instead of “managing” the problem of homelessness, as in the past, “Home For Good” would solve the problem. I would counter that, now, we are not even coming close to managing the problem.  It is out of control! This unfortunate, inaccurate marketing has funneled resources to “Home For Good” and away from many very effective non-profits around LA County, and has caused the closure of much needed beds and services, producing a lack of services to people in need, and placed an incredible amount of people on the streets, doubling the number of people on the streets of Skid Row since “Home For Good” was launched!

Before “Home For Good” LA was launched, and I do not doubt the good intentions, the cost savings that were projected from this new approach were astronomical…something in the range of $750 Million.  I have to ask, where is the cost savings in this?

LAFD Assistance                      Up   1000% (persons sick, injured or deceased)

LAPD Assistance                      Up    500%

The truth is if “Home For Good” was the most effective strategy for all people experiencing homelessness, there would be a cost increase, not a decrease.  The capital costs alone to permanently house all people experiencing homelessness in LA alone would be $15 Billion and the operating costs to provide supportive services would be around $5 Billion per year.  I’ve based these estimates on the original costs of the Project 50 in LA.

Certainly “Home For Good” was established with an eye on Skid Row and a wish to positively impact Skid Row, next to the business center of Los Angeles?

Those in leadership and authority should not have taken their eye off the ball.  We had worked on a multi-pronged strategy to reduce homelessness on Skid Row from 2000 people to 600 over the course of several years and lots of hard work.

Marketing what should have been simply yet another added strategy to a continuum of strategies as the silver bullet solution to homelessness was a big mistake, and instead of assisting in providing a solution, along with other factors, it has taken us to the tipping point of chaos here on Skid Row.

I hope that before you believe any further marketing presentations from “Home For Good”, you’ll call me and come walk the streets of Skid Row with me to see this first-hand.  Thank you. Andy B.

3 thoughts on “The Reality on Skid Row Since Home For Good Launch

  1. Ccn_99 on

    Thank you. I was unaware of this. I regularly drive a client from work to her home near USC. We are saddened and shocked at the numbers of people living under the I-10 fwy. What can I do?
    Christine Norris

    • Unionrescuemission on

      Please speak up to city, county & others. It seems most are ignoring the problem. Blessings

  2. Dhall58 on

    I think it’s tough to quote meaningful statistics in an economy that practicall imploded and still hasn’t normalized. Also, in Statistics class they always taught me about correlation, and I dont see the correlation between Home for Good’s launch, and the number of people homeless.

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