L.A. Spends $100M on Homelessness Efforts, Mental Health Care
Los Angeles spends about $100 million annually on homelessness, including providing mental health and other services, according a report released Thursday, the Los Angeles Times' "L.A. Now" reports (Holland, "L.A. Now," Los Angeles Times, 4/16).
The study was conducted by City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana. It sought to estimate the costs associated with homelessness, including:
- Medical services;
- Mental health services;
- Police; and
- Sanitation (AP/Sacramento Bee, 4/17).
According to the report, about $87 million of the $100 million spent annually on homeless individuals is used for:
- Mental health services; and
- Patrols ("L.A. Now," Los Angeles Times, 4/16).
Specifically, the report found that a total of 104,255 individuals who were arrested by the Los Angeles Police Department in 2013 were homeless, costing the department more than $1 million in county, food and medical costs (Homelessness report, 4/16).
The report also found that paramedics -- along with other city crews, such as sanitation, parks and recreation and librarians -- spend a significant amount of resources on homeless individuals. According to the report, such professionals lack clear guidelines and coordinated approaches for handling the homeless population.
"There appears to be no consistent process across city departments for dealing with the homeless or with homeless encampments," according to the report ("L.A. Now," Los Angeles Times, 4/16).
The report made several recommendations, including:
- Creating a city policy to end homelessness (AP/Sacramento Bee, 4/17);
- Creating a homelessness city office; and
- Hiring consultants to track and monitor efforts to reduce homelessness ("L.A. Now," Los Angeles Times, 4/16).