Garcetti’s signature homeless program shelters thousands, but most return to the streets

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Richard Thompson seeks the shade of his umbrella as he is camped out with several others in a Venice parking lot across the street from one of 20 homeless shelters that have been established by Mayor Garcetti.(Al Seib/Los Angeles Times)

Richard Thompson seeks the shade of his umbrella as he is camped out with several others in a Venice parking lot across the street from one of 20 homeless shelters that have been established by Mayor Garcetti.(Al Seib/Los Angeles Times)

In the spring of 2018, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti put his personal stamp on the city’s response to homelessness by announcing a departure from its primary focus of building permanent housing. Garcetti proposed to open a homeless shelter in each of L.A.’s 15 council districts.

Garcetti has largely made good on that goal, defying the skepticism that greeted his plan, called A Bridge Home. Rallying council members to the cause and making deals for public and private land from San Pedro to Canoga Park, the mayor has opened at least one shelter in all but one council district. So far, 20 are up and running and five more are nearing completion. By early next year they will have added nearly 2,000 new shelter beds to the city’s inventory.

But a Times review shows that Garcetti’s signature homelessness program, which has cost about $200 million, has had less success living up to its promise to move people on the streets into permanent housing and improve the communities around the shelters with enhanced policing and increased sanitation services.

“They told us we would have cleaner neighborhoods if we accepted this,” said Christina Tullock, who cares for her ailing mother in a condo across the street from the shelter in Venice. “Exactly the opposite has happened.”

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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