By: Hector and Mike

The Mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, addressed a small crowd this past week at the groundbreaking ceremony where a 19-story homeless housing project, consisting of 278 units, is scheduled to be built by December 2023.

The price tag to the taxpayers is $160 million to build 47 one-bedroom units, 228 studio units, and three units for the managers. The price tag does not include maintenance, utilities and all the other support services needed for homeless residents.

In case you aren’t good at math (and clearly the city is not) that comes to $575,000 per unit. For about the same money you could rent a one bedroom, one bath condo with over 800 square feet on Wilshire Blvd, that is the penthouse.

What’s going on here?

I get that property in Los Angeles is expensive and that lumber and other construction materials are in short supply. But what I don’t understand is the absurd amount of $575,000 per unit.

These residences are supposed to be transition residences, to get the homeless off the streets, give them a safe and secure place to live and give them the opportunity to get back on their feet. Should we be spending $575,000 per unit to do that?

What about the people in Los Angeles that aren’t homeless? They are immigrants who work two or three jobs. They live in one-bedroom apartments with four to five people in the family. They have dignity and respect and are doing all they can to stay off the street, while paying their taxes. What does it say to them when the city provides a homeless person a $575,000 apartment? .

If California is serious about developing affordable housing and transitional housing for our homeless population, we should closely examine the expenses. We should monitor who gets into these half-million-dollar apartments — for example, homeless veterans who have fought and given their all for our country should be the first in line. And these apartments should be transitional, safe, inexpensive, and functional — not something the equivalent of a one-bedroom penthouse on Wilshire Blvd.

Just because Los Angeles voters generously approved a billion-dollar housing bond, or because our state is experiencing a $70 billion surplus, doesn’t mean that our elected officials are allowed to be negligent with our taxpayer money.

There needs to be a conscious effort to bring together the best minds in our construction and finance industries to figure out how to lower the cost per studio down to $200,000 — and eventually to $100,000 — without compromising the integrity of the structure and all safety codes. Government is not solving the homeless crisis, and they certainly shouldn’t be in the building business.

You can read about this new homeless housing project here:

Hosts of the podcast the Hector and Mike Experience, Hector Barajas and Mike Vallante are communications and public relations experts with decades of political, legislative and media experience. They bring a unique perspective and insight on politics and hot topic items.