LA's Homeless Tax Made Homelessness Worse

The Los Angeles political establishment, the media and everyone who listened to them insisted that raising taxes to spend on the homeless was the answer. But subsidizing a social problem never works.

L.A. County's homeless problem is worsening despite billions from tax measures

Despite drilling a big hole in the boat, it continues to sink.

Los Angeles County's homeless population is increasing faster than the supply of new housing, even with the addition of thousands of beds in the last two years and millions of dollars beginning to flow in from two ballot measures targeting the crisis

It's almost as if the problem worsens because you keep throwing money at it. Reasonable people would draw sensible conclusions. Lefties will just insist that more money needs to be spent until every single last homeless wanderer is living in Los Angeles.

The 2015 homeless count, on which the previous analysis was based, put the number of people living on the streets across the county at just under 29,000.

Last year, the annual January count raised the number of unsheltered homeless people to nearly 49,000 — almost three-fourths of all homeless people.

So either a whole lot of people, became homeless. So many that they represented 2/3rds of the original count. Or the numbers increased because the problem was being subsidized.  And that incentivized new homeless "clients" and the non-profits and government agencies who cash in on them.

The earlier report projected a reduction of 14% each year. If that had occurred, the total homeless population — including unsheltered and sheltered — would have dropped to 41,323 last year.

Instead, it climbed to nearly 59,000. The results of this year's count will be released in the spring.

The results will increase. And go on increasing as the left repeats its seventies experiments in subsidizing social problems. And the increases will always be attributed to gentrification, income inequality and all the usual suspects. And the solution will always lie with more taxes.

So here we go.

The report showed that officials two years ago far underestimated how much new housing would be needed when they asked city and county voters to approve the tax measures.

As a result, a $73-million annual shortfall in funding for the county's comprehensive homelessness program could more than triple, a Times analysis of the report found.

Of course. The problem is always not enough money. Just ask LAUSD. The more money you throw at the problem, the more is needed.

Providing permanent housing for the county's chronically homeless population would require more than 20,000 new units, about 5,000 more than projected two years ago, the report said.

Come back next year and it'll be 30,000 or 10,000 more than projected.

In a departure from its previous report, the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority provided no analysis of costs associated with the needed housing in the revision released last week.

Why bother? It's whatever the market will bear.

Based on estimates in the 2016 report, The Times calculated the additional costs could be about $200 million, pushing the annual shortfall to more than $270 million.

$270 million. $2.7 billion. It's just money.

And if you really want to "solve this crisis", you'll pay your "fair share" unless you're an unfeeling monster who hates government bureaucrats and their non-profit allies profiting from the social problems they create.

Homeless advocates considered the quarter-cent sales tax to be the best approach to raising money for homelessness, but the $355 million it is expected to generate each year falls short of meeting the county program's estimated annual cost of $428 million.

$428 million. $4 billion. $400 billion. Who's counting.

When the supervisors review the budget in June they'll face hard choices.

The only hard choices will involve allocating the contracts to save the homeless.