KPCC Report: Why Do Thousands of L.A.’s Homeless Shelter Beds Sit Empty Each Night?

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FROM KPCC – May 16:

Every night, some 43,000 people sleep on the streets of Los Angeles County in tents, cars and makeshift structures. So why do thousands of beds run by the biggest homeless agencies go empty at night?

A KPCC investigation found reports of bedbugs, rats, foul odors, poor lighting, harassment, lax care in medical wards and even a “chicken incubator” in a room where homeless people were sleeping.

Public documents — including monitoring reports from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), health department inspections, coroner reports, surveys from the Department of Mental Health and police reports — reveal safety and sanitation problems in shelters around the county.

Reviews conducted at 60 shelters funded by LAHSA last year found more than half — 33 — were not filling all of their beds. Overall, LAHSA-funded shelters had a 78 percent utilization rate, well below the 90 percent required in their contracts. Monitors also found that 25 of those facilities were failing to meet the minimum standards required by their contracts to get people off the streets for good.

KPCC found that negative monitoring reports, health citations and grievance complaints rarely result in a shelter being shut down.

Some shelters raise philanthropic dollars on their own to improve living conditions in their buildings. Those that don’t receive public dollars operate with little to no public accountability at all.

The lack of accountability for meeting quality and service benchmarks raises questions about what taxpayers are paying for with the hundreds of millions of dollars in Measure H funding now flowing through LAHSA and other public agencies…

READ MORE: KPCC Website – Why Do Thousands of L.A.’s Homeless Shelter Beds Sit Empty Each Night?


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