Los Angeles spend millions on homeless, gets more of it

Who could have predicted?

A colleague on the Dane County Board, the late Judith Wilcox, said this about homelessness: “if you spend it, they will come.” Judy was a standard-issue liberal with expertise in the social services — it was her day job at the WI Dept. Health and Social Services (as it was known then).

That would seem to be an obvious truism but it seems to surprise our liberal-progressive-socialist acquaintances, as it did to the Clinton News Network and the liberal principality of Los Angeles, California.


CNN: Staggering homeless count stuns LA officials

“The economy is booming and the city has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to combat homelessness. It still went up 16%.”

Beyond the well-being of the city’s homeless population, the encampments have raised a broad array of public heath and safety concerns. Los Angeles Fire Department officials determined, for example, that the massive Skirball blaze that burned homes in Bel-Air and torched the hillsides along the 405 freeway in December 2017 was sparked by a cooking fire at a homeless encampment nearby.

Los Angeles is, of course, a bastion of progressive politics. But the issue plays out in other Left-coast cities.

New York mayor Bill de Blasio told a radio interviewer recently: “I own it,” referring to the city’s metastasizing homelessness problem.

Tree Lane PD calls

The Manhattan Institute reported two years ago that “More New Yorkers live in city shelters now than ever before. This is a sharp rebuke to de Blasio’s progressive agenda. … The city will spend an estimated $1 billion on shelter alone during the current fiscal year, and much more than that if one includes the full range of municipally funded services for the homeless.”

Homelessness burgeoned under Koch and Dinkins because they defined the phenomenon as an entitlement to be funded rather than a program to be managed. It contracted during the Giuliani years because city hall insisted on attaching work and similar obligations to benefits, thus discouraging participation, but with no evidence of deprivation. Rolls began to swell again under Bloomberg as reciprocity rules were relaxed. The current administration has essentially dropped all pretenses of work rules or other quid pro quos for benefits.

Seattle declared a state of emergency over its homelessness. Since 2014, homelessness in Amazon’s headquarter city increased annually by 14.1%, 20.8%, 19.4%, 21.8% and 15.2%.

Meanwhile in the Emerald City

In Madison, Isthmus reported earlier this year:

In the six months since Tree Lane started taking homeless families directly off the streets, reports of drug dealing, loud parties and fighting at the 45-unit housing facility have been commonplace. On two separate occasions, brawls involving more than 30 people broke out on the property. Rethke Terrace — a 60-unit apartment building for homeless individuals — has been similarly plagued by violent incidents since opening in June 2016, including two high-profile stabbings in July that prompted a temporary ban on guests.

Perhaps the troubles contributed to Mayor Soglin’s defeat in April (although it is more likely Madison became too liberal even for Paul Soglin).

Every negative headline about Rethke and Tree Lane casts doubt on the city’s long-term strategy to address chronic homelessness — Housing First. As Soglin told reporters, “We’re talking about the viability of this program and our commitment to it.”

Blaska’s Bottom Line: It would not be Madison if the city were not committed to its liberal-progressive-socialist programs, no matter how failed. That goes double after the April 2 elections.

About David Blaska

Madison WI
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15 Responses to Los Angeles spend millions on homeless, gets more of it

  1. George's Son says:

    The latest “In Business” mag shows that the city & Heartland are delaying that 3rd “project”. Perhaps they’re noticing actual consequences in LA, San Francisco & Portland? Whoops, I musta nodded off and been dreamin’ -They just haven’t found enuff dupes yet….


  2. Tom Paine says:

    Ya think Jed Clampett and family ever changed their culture, even after moving into a ‘decent’ neighborhood? Course not. No different from the Proles and their Prole Culture.

    Orwell had vision, though not perfect. Modified, his observation remains true:

    So long as they (the Proles) continued to work and breed, their other activities were without importance. Left to themselves, like cattle turned loose upon the plains of Argentina, they had maintained a style of life that appeared to be natural to them, a sort of ancestral pattern..Drug dealing, petty quarrels with neighbors, films, football, beer and above all, gambling filled up the horizon of their minds. To keep them in control was not difficult.

    Really, no different from Pamela Soucey of the Samson Band, Hobbema, Alberta, the richest community of native folks in North America.


  3. Sprocket says:

    I don’t think anyone could have predicted that gathering a bunch of people who’s only skill is making bad life decisions in one place would be a fiasco. I’m just thankful I live in a city that cares enough to convert the proceeds of the average citizens’ labor into the grand prizes for the Suck at Everything Olympics.

    The fundamental problem is that we live in a free society and these people require constant management of their lives by others. These concepts are not reconcilable and therefore we’re stuck throwing money at an intractable problem to make lefties feel good about themselves.


  4. madisonexpat says:

    What you subsidize you get more of.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Cornelius Gotchberg says:

    Lefty run municipalities are a freakin’ magnet for the career Homeless; just take a look at FREEattle or the awash in human excrement San Francisco!

    This is Textbook Madison: Feel good Gosh I’m Nice Social Engineering visuals, with hidden/ignored…um…externalities.

    And on the subject of someone who’s filled up the horizon of his mind (a shorter trip you’ll never find!) make sure to wish the resident donut maker a Happy National Donut Day.

    The Gotch


    • richard lesiak says:

      I see by the lack of posts lately that no one wants to play your stupid games any more, but FYI, the state donut is the Old Fashioned Sour Cream. “Sour” like your personality. AMIRIGHT. I’m surprised your online sine it’s also National Bike Week. I know how much you love the local bike paths and thought you would be out there handing out water, coffee and donuts.


      • Cornelius Gotchberg says:

        @richard lesiak;

        “I see by the lack of posts lately”

        As it pertains to you, too bad it’s not a permanent trend; discussions here haven’t been polluted by your mindless slobbering.

        “I’m surprised your (sic) online sine (sic) it’s also National Bike Week.”

        Where’s National Learn Proper English week when you need it the most?

        Anywho, part of your welcome absence was likely due to this week having another Big Day (Wednesday June 5th) in your world, am I right?

        The Gotch


  6. FoodForThought says:

    “no matter how failed”
    Except they just canned the next one planned for Park Street.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Mark Porter says:

    Not sure but wonder if you’re confusing correlation with causation… 😊 Your evidence is a bit flimsy. Not saying that it might not be due to subsidy but it could equally be the dramatic rise in housing costs in many cities.


  8. Cornelius Gotchberg says:

    I drove past the Tree Lane facility yesterday and there’s a large scale demolition project going on just south of it, toward Mineral Point Road.

    There’s a condo/apartment clubhouse just north of it that has grass growing out of its tennis courts. Unless they’re converting to a grass court surface, it appears the place is succumbing to neglect; imagine that…

    The Gotch


  9. madisonexpat says:

    Anyone remember Somerset Circle circa 1990? Rinse, repeat.

    Liked by 1 person

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