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Audit: LA's Top Homelessness Agency Missing Most Of Its Goals

Tents and belongings of the homeless line a street in downtown Los Angeles, California on June 25, 2018
Tents and belongings of the homeless line a street in downtown Los Angeles, California on June 25, 2018

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The homeless services authority that contracts with the City of Los Angeles to help find housing and treatment for the city’s homeless population has missed a number of the goals in its contract with L.A. City, according to an audit released Wednesday by the office of City Controller Ron Galperin.

In addition to highlighting those goals, City Controller Ron Galperin has proposed a data-driven fix that he says would use real-time data to help the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) better allocate resources and more effectively make decisions about outreach strategies and planning. In a statement, Galperin said “My report shows that a better plan to reach out to the City’s homeless population is needed. LAHSA is spending far too much time reacting to complaints and contacting far too few people as a result. By implementing a data-driven approach, LAHSA will be able to engage in proactive outreach and get more people off the streets and into shelters and homes.”

LAHSA has yet to release an official statement, but chief program officer Heidi Marston told The Los Angeles Times that the audit’s findings reflected an “unbalanced system” and that LAHSA “can’t place people in shelter or housing that has yet to be built or is blocked.”

Today on AirTalk, Larry sits down with controller Galperin to go over the findings of the audit.

This segment has been updated since its original publication with a statement from LAHSA.

AirTalk invited LAHSA to respond to the audit, but they did not respond to our requests for comment in time for our live program. In a statement we received after our segment aired, LAHSA said the audit is "misleading" and sent us the following quote from executive director Peter Lynn:

“The day-to-day work of connecting with people on the street requires passion and patience: forming bonds with our most vulnerable. These are individuals and families for whom the system has failed. Its pace can be frustrating, but by the measurements that matter, Los Angeles City and County have invested in programs that are reaching more people than ever before. LAHSA will continue to do this work. As more permanent and bridge housing come online, we will have more success helping our neighbors come indoors.”

We also invited Mayor Eric Garcetti to participate in our discussion, and his spokesperson sent us the following statement:

"If we’re going to solve this crisis, we need ideas and input from all of our leaders, and we should always be willing to put our strategies under a microscope. The Mayor appreciates the Controller’s work, and will review the recommendations in this report. LAHSA outreach workers have some of the toughest jobs, battling this crisis from the front lines. Mayor Garcetti is inspired by these men and women every day, and has full confidence in their ability to help our homeless neighbors find their way off the street. Last year alone, they helped house nearly 22,000 people, an unprecedented number, and more than double what we saw just three years ago. The Mayor is optimistic that we can make even more progress in the coming months as we continue to accelerate our city-wide responses.”


Ron Galperin, controller of the City of Los Angeles; his office conducted the audit on the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority’s (LAHSA) outreach program; he tweets @LAController