Sunday, October 24, 2021

Homeless recovery advocate: New skid row housing project ‘may be trigger for those in recovery’

When Los Angeles broke ground on the new Weingart Towers housing project in Skid Row on September 28, several Los Angeles officials, including Mayor Eric Garcetti, described the move as a “comprehensive solution for the homeless”, as well as the proposal by HHH. credited to. A 2016 ballot initiative that partially funded the project.

A total of $48 million of PropHHH funds will go to the construction of Weingart Towers – Los Angeles’s largest expected homeless housing development on Skid Row; $32 million for the first tower, which will provide 382 units to the homeless, and $16 million for the second 104 unit-tower.

More than 75 percent of voters passed PropHHH, a $1.2 billion ballot initiative aimed at combating homelessness by building 10,000 ancillary housing units. Five years later, city officials are coming to the end of PropHHH’s funds after making only about 10 percent of their initial goal.

Some, however, question the efficacy of the new Skid Row project, PropHHH, and the city’s holistic approach to homelessness.

Yug Times Photos
Skid Row on June 9, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (John Fredericks/The Epoch Times)

Los Angeles Comptroller’s Report

Los Angeles Comptroller Ron Galperin published a report in 2019 that found that only 892 ancillary housing units and 368 affordable units were built. In 2021, this number is projected to be around 1,000 units. As Galperin reports, most of these units are one-bedroom or studio apartments, ranging from 275-750 square feet, and cost between $350,000 and $690,000 per unit to build downtown.

The report estimates that the total cost of projects increased by 12 percent between 2016, when project costs were first estimated, and 2019; The cost of many of those projects rose 25 percent in the first three years.

The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) estimates that there were 28,464 homeless people in the city of LA in 2016, of whom 21,338 were homeless. In 2020, LAHSA reported 41,290 unhoused Angelenos – an increase of nearly 50 percent over 4 years.

Due to the rapid increase in the homeless population in recent years, as well as a cost boom, Galperin reports that the project is “not keeping pace with the growing demand for supportive housing and shelter.”

In addition, Galperin criticized the program’s management, stating that developers were spending large amounts of money on “soft costs” or “non-construction activities such as fees, advisory, and financing costs”, and were borrowing to make interest payments. Spent lakhs in Bond money was ready to be used before the projects. Galperin recommended making the program a centralized accounting authority for the rest of the program.

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In addition, Galperin also recommended the city “explore other ways to use any remaining funds to deliver faster and less expensive projects”, while reviewing the most expensive projects in pre-development. To see what can be done to reduce costs.”

Yug Times Photos
Yug Times Photos
Skid Row on November 17, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (John Fredricks / The Epoch Times)

Homeless Recovery Advocates on a “Housing First” Approach

Homeless and drug-addiction recovery attorney Tom Wolf told The Epoch Times that the lack of financial oversight “speaks to the mess surrounding permanent assisted housing.”

Wolf spent many years battling an addiction to pills and heroin, becoming homeless from a family-oriented child support officer in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district.

Tom was forced to explain himself in 2018 after being arrested and serving three months in prison. Wolf’s brother bailed him out, and he spent the next six months at a Salvation Army rehabilitation facility. Wolf has been sober now for three years and is currently the case manager at an isolated Salvation Army in San Francisco, where he helps others recover.

“Homelessness Is Very Painful. Some Basic Challenges” [about] Housing someone, and you also have to think about where they are housing,” Wolf said, adding that walking outside the building to drug dealers on Skid Row can be problematic for someone in addiction recovery.

“Look, you’re breaking ground on that housing project in Skid Row, that [would be] A trigger for me as someone who’s trying to keep that place clean and quiet, and then it’s double when I walk outside, I’m back on Skid Row, because that’s where they did. Housing project was done. So, these are questions that I think are worth asking why they chose that location, and not elsewhere,” Wolf said. “It just doesn’t make sense. The way I see it is that this is a humanitarian crisis and that’s what we all need.”

micaela ricafort

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This News Originally From – The Epoch Times

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