Sheriff Villanueva Addresses the Homeless Crisis and Provides Statistics in Los Angeles County
On Wednesday, June 23, 2021, Sheriff Alex Villanueva and Lieutenant Geoffrey Deedrick from the Sheriff’s Homeless Outreach Services Team (HOST), along with business owners from the Venice Beach Boardwalk, held a press conference to address the homeless crisis in Los Angeles County and the direct effect on businesses throughout Los Angeles County and the Venice Beach Boardwalk.
Sheriff Villanueva showed various clips of news reports that portrayed the homeless crisis on the Venice Beach Boardwalk and explained that regulating public space and public safety are necessary to combat the homeless crisis.
Sheriff Villanueva stated that Venice Beach is within Los Angeles County and is the second most popular tourist destination in Southern California. The tourism industry brings approximately 50 million visitors to Los Angeles per year, contributing an estimated18 billion dollars to the local economy.
The people of Los Angeles County are being directly and indirectly affected by the homeless crisis. According to the Los Angeles County Homeless Count, ten years ago, the homeless count was approximately 40,000 and today that number doubled to approximately 80,000. Various measures, including Measure H, have passed to help the homeless. But some non-profit organizations intended to assist the homeless are more of a benefit to executive officers, directors, physicians, etc. Some nonprofit organizations (such as Share Your Share Inc. and Safe Place for Youth) have no financial data available. While billions of dollars are destined to help the homeless, very little money gets to the source of the problem. In the last ten years, six and a half billion dollars was destined to the homeless, and no progress was done. Instead, the number of homeless individuals doubled in the last ten years.
Bob Carlson, owner of a skateboard and snowboard brand founded in Venice, has lived in the popular city for 30 years and has seen firsthand what the homeless population has done to Venice Beach. A few years ago, he had the necessity to hire a full time security guard, and two weeks ago the security guard was viciously attacked on the parking lot of his business when he told a homeless man that he could not drink on the parking lot. He was so badly wounded that he almost bled to death. It took the Los Angeles Police Department almost an hour to respond. Doctors informed Carlson that two vital arteries were barely missed and his employee was lucky to be alive. Carlson said the people in Venice Beach are “on their own” and thanked Sheriff Villanueva for his efforts.
The Sheriff’s Homeless Outreach Services Team is a dedicated group of law enforcement professionals who are making a difference in the well-being of the homeless, one person at a time. The HOST team consists of a lieutenant, one sergeant, and four deputies. From its inception, the mission of HOST was to positively impact the homeless crisis in Los Angeles County, while enhancing public safety and preserving the rights and dignity of persons experiencing homelessness. Their approach is simple, yet effective. Their outreach efforts include contacting the homeless and assisting them in accepting services to include transportation and relocation, among others.
Sheriff Villanueva concluded the press conference by sharing that on Wednesday, June 23, 2021, he sent a letter to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors requesting them to declare a local state of emergency regarding the homeless crisis in Los Angeles County, stating, “Enough is enough. We need to kick it into high gear.”
Full Press Conference
Click here to view the Power Point Presentation from the Conference – PDF (embedded videos below)