LA County supervisors vote to rethink structure, function of lead homeless services agency

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to rethink the structure and responsibility of the public agency on the forefront of the region's homeless crisis.

The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, a combined effort by both the city and county of Los Angeles, manages $400 million a year to provide shelter and housing for people experiencing homelessness. Questions have been raised, however, about its effectiveness.

Supervisor Kathryn Barger filed the motion to analyze the agency.

"It was formed through a lawsuit and quite frankly from day one, because I was a staffer at the time, on paper it looked good - the joint power agreement - but in reality there were problems from day one," Barger said.

Leader of LA's top homeless agency resigns amid growing homelessness numbers during tenure
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Peter Lynn, the man in charge of the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, is stepping down after five years in the role.

LAHSA was established in 1993 when homelessness looked very different. In just the last 10 years, homelessness has gone up 23%, prompting many county leaders to want to look into how the agency operates.

During a Board of Supervisors meeting Monday, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said the issue pertained to "accountability" and "transparency." The agency is receiving millions from voter-approved Prop H, which officials want to make sure is being spent wisely and aggressively.

"Without the federal government's help - and I'm hoping that we'll get some help in 2021 - we are not able to build housing, we are not able to build a shelter, we just can't do it by ourselves," said Supervisor Sheila Kuehl.

A preliminary report is expected to be presented to the supervisors next week.
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