Rodents and bedbugs keeping homeless out of LA shelters

With around 43,000 people sleeping on the streets of LA every night, the homeless shelters in the city should be filled. The shelters funded by The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) are at a 78 percent utilization rate in contrast to the 90 percent they are supposed to be at according to their contracts. 

The emptiness could be attributed to a number of things but out of the homeless people surveyed by KPCC, most agreed that the unsanitary conditions and vermin were to blame for the empty beds. 

Homeless man, Craig Aslin, told KPCC he tried The House of Hope, a boarding home in Jefferson Park but says "it sucked, I got eaten up by bedbugs." In 2017, a public health inspector for The House of Hope did not find any bedbugs but did find 17 other health code violations, including evidence of rats, roaches, suspected mold and issues with waste storage and disposal.

The public health department said it does follow-up inspections and sends compliance letters to shelters. It does not, however, shut shelters down.

L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti has proposed funneling $20 million in city funds into creating “temporary” homeless shelters in each of the city’s 15 council districts with the hope that the brand new housing will entice the homeless with promises of clean sheets and better security to help get them back on their feet. 

Photo: Getty Images 

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