Los Angeles Sheriff Demands that a State of Emergency be Declared on Homelessness

Things aren’t going so well in Los Angeles as evidenced by Sheriff Alex Villanueva’s letter directed to the Board of Supervisors where he called on them to declare a local state of emergency. According to Jeremy Joseph of the Epoch Times, Villanueva pointed to the “homelessness crisis in the county, citing an increase in crime, lack of sanitation, and struggling businesses” as the main factors behind Villanueva’ decision to send the Board of Supervisors this letter.

“We’ve been inundated with calls, with concerns, with images from the news, from people picking up the phone, emailing, sending us letters, about what’s going on in Venice,” Villanueva said to reporters during a press conference on June 23. “And that is a microcosm of what’s going on throughout the entire county of Los Angeles.”

“Enough is enough, we need to kick this into high gear,” he added.

Joseph observed that there’s “an estimated 200 homeless people on the Venice Beach Boardwalk and 2,000 throughout the neighborhood, making it the second largest concentration of homeless people after Skid Row in downtown Los Angeles” and that the “area has been getting primary attention recently from Villanueva and the sheriffs’ Homeless Outreach and Services Team (HOST).”

By declaring a state of emergency, the county is eligible to receive FEMA funds, due to county resources being limited, Villanueva claimed.

“With the homeless, you have two choices if you’re an elected official: You can get busy helping [or] you get busy hindering, it’s your choice,” he said.

Villanueva noted that there’s a “homeless industrial complex” that’s exploiting LA’s current homeless dilemma to rake in big money:

All those 501 C-3 organizations … we’re going to talk about money; there is a homeless industrial complex, and they’re raking in money, not by the millions, not by the hundreds of millions, by the billions.”

Joseph continued detailing some of Villanueva’s shocking revelations about the non-profit cottage industry that is using the homeless crisis for its own gain:

Villanueva shared salary data equating to over $2.8 million of the top earning employees compensated by the Venice Family Clinic revenue, a nonprofit organization that provides comprehensive healthcare services to low-income residents in Venice.

The LA sheriff also believes that California’s “housing first” approach to addressing the issue of housing for the homeless is misguided. This strategy generally consists of “building permanent and supportive housing units” to tackle the homelessness crisis. Though as Joseph pointed out, “Measure HHH, a $1.2 billion bond obligation passed in 2016 by Angeleno voters to build 10,000 supportive housing units, has only constructed a total of three buildings.”

In light of LA’s flawed housing strategy to fight homelessness, Villanueva declared that “You cannot build your way out of homelessness.”

“It was the Los Angeles Homeless Authority themselves that said for every 100 that we house, they’re replaced by 120 on the street–that math seems to elude these people … our elected officials,” Villanueva observed.

According to figures that Villanueva provided to the Epoch Times, Los Angeles spends roughly $1 billion annually on homeless services.

“In fact, we’re way past $2 billion this year because this is just half of one year, so the true numbers are way up here, as the problem grows, like clockwork, year after year. So, you tell me, you think it’s time to regulate public space?” Villanueva added.

As the days go by, California looks more and more like a dystopian scene from an Ayn Rand novel. Its current homelessness crisis in cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco represents a failure of political leadership to build a solid mental health infrastructure to keep the mentally ill off the streets. Additionally, it’s clear that the state lacks an economic model which enables citizens of all backgrounds to make enough money to afford basic housing. 

California is spiraling out of control and those who are disenchanted with the state’s socio-economic collapse are simply packing up and leaving for saner political climes.