$150 Million for L.A.’s Unhoused People Go Unspent

The city returned nearly $150 million in federal funding directed to providing shelter and supportive services to the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

2 minute read

October 5, 2022, 11:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Front of Cecil Hotel, downtown Los Angeles

MSPhotographic / Cecil Hotel, Los Angeles

Los Angeles housing agencies returned close to $150 million in federal funding aimed at alleviating homelessness over six years, even as the city saw a massive increase in the number of unhoused people living on its streets, writes Connor Sheets in the Los Angeles Times.

According to the article, “[The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority] returned more than $29 million to HUD during the six-year period; the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles returned more than $82 million; and the Los Angeles County Development Authority returned nearly $38 million.” 

The article explains some of the logistical difficulties faced by organizations trying to build supportive housing projects and the residents who want to access housing and services. A LAHSA spokesperson explained, “in a climate where the rental market is so hard to access, it makes it very challenging to use all these resources,” blaming HUD’s “rigid” funding system and calling for more flexibility. The local housing authorities also cited “insufficient workable housing units,” landlords’ refusal to rent to unhoused people, and “shortfalls” by program partners. 

“But affordable-housing developers decry the return of any funds, blaming red tape and government inefficiency for their underuse. Many say they could immediately use some of that money to house Angelenos in desperate need of assistance.” Read the source article for more details on the returned funds and how advocates say the city and county could more effectively allocate federal dollars to local projects.

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