By Rachel O'Brien, Deputy Policy Editor, OpenTheBooks.com
Clark County spends about $313 million a year on homeless services — emergency homeless shelters, transitional and permanent housing programs, and indigent nursing home care.
It receives $15 million annually from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
But recently, the state legislature passed and Gov. Joe Lombardo signed a bill that “creates a $100 million matching fund for a lead organization to design and construct a facility that would provide a one-stop shop for programs and services that assist homeless people on their journey towards permanent housing,” The Las Vegas Sun reported.
Lombardo vetoed other bills recently that would have given renters more protections, including pausing evictions 60 days for those who have a rental assistance application pending, and changing the eviction process to require a landlord to start an eviction process with the court
In 2022, 5,645 people were counted as experiencing homelessness in Clark County, and an estimated 14,000 people were homeless in Southern Nevada “at some point during the year.”
Many cities struggle with providing for a large homeless population.
San Francisco is spending $356 million on supportive housing in the fiscal year that ends this month. City officials plan to spend $1.5 billion over the next three years.
As the city grapples with housing an estimated almost 8,000 homeless people, its homeless services agency has an issue with unspent funds. It is leaving hundreds of millions of dollars unspent, not because it’s overfunded and doesn’t need the money, but because of chronic understaffing, red tape and additional hurdles caused by the pandemic, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
In Austin, over 5,000 people experience homelessness, costing the city millions of dollars every year.
Seattle tripled its spending on homelessness over the past eight years, The Seattle Times reported. In 2021, Seattle spent over $109 million on homelessness, which is $148 per capita., and almost 2% of its entire budget.
The City of Seattle spent almost $1 billion over ten years on homelessness, while the number of unsheltered people continues to rise. That doesn’t include other housing levies or spending on affordable housing, according to KOMO in Seattle.
In King County, home of Seattle, the state’s most populous city, 13,368 people experienced homelessness in 2022, according to a count by the King County Regional Homelessness Authority that estimates how many people are experiencing sheltered and unsheltered homelessness on a single night. That’s compared to 9,000 people in 2012.
Those figures are conservative estimates. The count “is widely understood to be an undercount, especially as it represents a single night rather than a full year,” the homeless authority said.
Larger cities have it even worse. Los Angeles city has an estimated 42,000 homeless people, with 69,000 homeless in all of LA County — the same as in New York City, which doesn’t include the 70,000 asylum-seeking migrants that have arrived in NYC in recent months.