What are Bass and Caruso’s plans to house the homeless

Los Angeles mayoral candidates Karen Bass and Rick Caruso have each made sweeping promises about how they would solve the homeless crisis on the city’s streets, where up to 41,000 people sleep in tents, RVs and other makeshift shelters.

Both candidates recently sat down with Times reporters to discuss their proposals and work out details.

Both promise to take thousands of people off the city streets, but their plans differ widely in scope and method.

Caruso is solely focused on building new transitional housing for 30,000 people in two initiatives, one on vacant government land and the other in underutilized buildings.

Bass outlined a nine-point plan that she said would accommodate more than 17,000 people by accelerating and expanding already existing programs.

Here’s a look at their suggestions:

Caruso plan

Rick Caruso says he will build 30,000 new mezzanine beds in 300 days at a one-time capital cost of $743 million to $874 million. He does not include operating costs, which he believes should be borne by the county. This building would stand above the temporary and permanent housing that would be added through existing programs such as Proposition HHH.

He breaks the plan into two equal parts:

Tiny Houses

Temporary, transportable outdoor structures measuring approximately 8 feet by 8 feet. They are equipped with one, two or four beds. Caruso counts them among private accommodations—one person per structure—but would allow voluntary sharing.

Where: Excess government land.

Caruso has a list of 300 properties that could be used, but hasn’t individually reviewed them for feasibility. His campaign published a list of just 10 properties, seven owned by the city, two by the county and one by the state, as examples. Some examples of potential locations included a 124-acre lot west of Los Angeles International Airport to serve as a rental car center and a vacant lot west of USC.

Costs: $4,798 per structure plus approximately $40,000 site preparation and installation. Caruso and his associates said the actual cost could be as little as $20,000 to $25,000 but would not commit to a minimum sum without access to more of the city’s data.

sleeping pods

Temporary, transportable structures assembled in existing buildings like office furniture, with walls separating sleeping areas.

Caruso’s campaign did not result in a list of potential locations or a specific manufacturer or design.

Where: In unused commercial and industrial or government buildings.

Costs: $4,740 per pod plus about $9,000 for installation

Funding Sources: Caruso’s campaign did not specify where the money would come from, but did name spending of $700 million on helping the homeless over the past two years, including $221 million in federal grants for emergency solutions, $80 million from the state Homeless Emergency Assistance Program and $120.9 million from the state’s Homeless Shelter, Relief and Prevention Program and $278.7 million in city funds.

These state and federal grants were used to buy hotels and build shelters.

Caruso declined to estimate the operating costs of housing 30,000 people, but a Times analysis of city documents found that it would cost about $660 million per year, or about $22,000 per person.

For Caruso, making this plan a reality will also entail expediting and simplifying the approval and development process for homeless shelters, while being more resolute with city council members when it comes to choosing sites for those shelters and tiny homes.

bass plan

Karen Bass says it will house 17,153 people indoors in its first year, at a cost of $292 million, including capital costs and one year of operation for the temporary housing. The beds would be a combination of temporary and permanent housing already existing or under construction, new housing and shelters, and thousands of market units utilizing rental subsidies that have been granted but not yet used.

Your plan consists of nine parts:

Emergency shelter vouchers

Bass would secure 3,170 rented apartments or motel units with federal emergency housing vouchers.

The city received 3,365 emergency grants under the pandemic relief programs but had only housed 196 people as of July. Bass promises to expand eligibility, streamline the application process and offer incentives to landlords.

Where: Apartments and motels at market prices throughout the city.

Costs: None in town. Federal and philanthropic funds will cover all costs.

Master leased building

Bass plans to secure 2,500 units in master lease buildings

Renting entire buildings allows the city to integrate hospitality and mental health and substance abuse treatment.

Where: Apartments and motels at market prices throughout the city.

Costs: 30 million dollars.

permanent units

The plan calls for 3,000 units in new buildings to be constructed under Proposition HHH.

Bass promises to streamline city processes to expedite projects receiving funds from the 2016 Homeless Housing Bond. Currently, 2,000 units are due to be completed in 2023, so it promises a 50% increase.

Where: New construction across town.

Costs: No new costs. The city’s share is already being funded under the $1.2 billion measure.

Buildings purchased by the city

Project Homekey, a government program, would help the city acquire 700 apartment units in apartment buildings, hotels or motels.

Two rounds of government funding have enabled the city to acquire nearly 2,000 units in existing and some newly constructed buildings. Bass anticipates approving the city’s application for a third round, which is now in the hands of Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Where: Existing buildings or new construction around the city.

Costs: $105 million for the city’s share.

Existing intermediate apartments

Bass’ plan calls for freeing up 3,700 beds in existing transitional housing.

She counts shelter beds that are currently occupied but will become available as her current residents move into the 3,000 new Proposition HHH beds and the 700 new Project Roomkey beds in her plan.

Where: Existing shelters around the city.

Costs: $82 million operating expenses.

New transitional housing

Bass proposes building 1,000 new transitional housing units: one-third tiny homes, one-third single-cell tent structures, and one-third modular.

Where: On government land.

Bass said they could be built on 73 acres of unused or underutilized land owned by the city and more than 600 acres of land in the city owned by other government agencies. Because the tiny homes the city is buying come with two beds, Bass counts two placements for each unit — for a total of 666 people housed in 333 units. Though Bass doesn’t support people having to share quarters, her staff is confident the tiny homes can be occupied by couples.

Costs: $53.8 million capital cost and $21.5 million operating cost.

Mental health and substance use beds

Bass says she would clear the way for 750 beds in mental health and substance use facilities. She said she will work with Newsom and the federal government to end a restriction on Medicaid reimbursement for mental health facilities with more than 16 beds. This would allow large facilities like the closed St. Vincent Medical Center to be converted into inpatient treatment centers.

Costs: None in town.

Living in converted buildings

Bass said she will update the downtown adaptive reuse ordinance so underutilized hotels, motels, office and retail buildings across the city could be converted into 500 residential units.

Where: In existing buildings across the city.

Costs: None in town.

Housing Vouchers for Veterans

Bass said she will work with the US Department of Veterans Affairs to remove roadblocks and release 1,500 housing vouchers for veterans.

Where: In existing housing around the city.

Costs: None in town.

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-09-04/homelessness-plans-la-mayor-candidates-karen-bass-rick-caruso-explainer What are Bass and Caruso’s plans to house the homeless

Alley Einstein

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