LOS ANGELES (CNS) -- Spending related to Mayor Karen Bass' Inside Safe program to dismantle homeless encampments and bring unhoused people indoors has reached nearly $40 million, according to a report presented Wednesday.
The money has gone to renting hotel rooms, keeping the L.A. Grand Hotel open for another year to house formerly unhoused people, service providers, paying overtime to Los Angeles Police Department officers and reimbursing the city's Department of Transportation, according to the fourth report to the L.A. City Council's Housing and Homelessness Committee on the Homelessness Emergency Account.
The report detailed spending through June 30.
The City Council voted 13-0 Jan. 18 to create the fund and transfer $50 million to it.
Mercedes Marquez, Bass' chief of housing and homelessness solutions, said the city has yet to spend the initial $50 million because of spending by Los Angeles County.
Councilwoman Nithya Raman, chair of the Housing and Homelessness Committee, questioned why the city is spending more on service providers, saying that "we already have invested as a city in case management services."
Marquez told the committee the city spent approximately $14 million on service provider contracts to expand services which were not offered prior to the creation of Inside Safe, such as three meals a day and 24/7 monitoring.
Approximately $7 million was spent on LAPD overtime and LADOT costs related to ensuring safety and clean-up during Inside Safe operations.
"The issue of underspend is allowing the county permitting contracts to be used for people while they're on the street and encampments up until the moment they go into a motel," Marquez said. "When they go into a motel, it switches over to another contract."
The city will have a better understanding of how much money it spent "fairly soon," she added, "now that the fiscal year has ended and everyone is doing their accounting on the county side."
Councilman Bob Blumenfield, a committee member and who chairs the council's budget committee, requested more information in terms of which contractors received payments in addition to a list of contracted providers, encampment areas and council districts where work is being done.
"I want to be mindful of our responsibility as custodians of the public taxpayer dollar," Blumenfield said.
While committee members expressed their appreciation for the overview of Inside Safe spending, they also expressed continued frustration with the lack of details.
"I hate to keep harping on this, but I have the same frustration as my colleagues for years. I've been asking for different reports back from LAHSA," Councilman John Lee said, referring to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority.
"We are the ones funding them and the fact that they can't respond to us and get me these reports on very simple things is extremely frustrating."
Marquez said things are improving due to new leadership at LAHSA, but in terms of data the numbers "fluctuate way too much for them to be accurate."
Part of the challenge comes from input data, which needs to be updated and verified as unhoused individuals move through the system.
The committee will receive its next report regarding the Homelessness Emergency Account in August.
"I think we'll have hopefully a chance to have a more fleshed out report since we have a little bit of a moment to breathe over these next three to four weeks. By the time we get the next report, we'll have a more fleshed out report that addresses more of the questions that are emerging from the committee," Raman said.