The man in charge of the top homeless services agency in Los Angeles is stepping down after five years in the role which has seen the number of homeless explode, and Medieval era diseases hit the city.

Peter Lynn’s resignation from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), which is tasked with addressing the crisis, was announced Monday as the region continues to see increasing rates of homelessness.

Heidi Marston, LAHSA’s chief program officer, will serve as interim executive director when Lynn officially leaves the post at the end of this month, according to a press release. A national search will be conducted to find a permanent replacement.

It would be difficult to imagine who would want to confront the homeless problem, given the progressive restrictions on solutions that can be offered.

Lynn’s agency spent millions on offices and personnel. Yet the number of homeless nears 60,000 and shows no signs of slowing down.

“Over these five years of explosive growth, LAHSA deployed more than $780 million in new funding to address homelessness. We doubled our staff and then doubled it again,” Lynn said in a written statement.

…Overall, an average of nearly 59,000 people were sleeping on sidewalks, in makeshift tents, in abandoned vehicles or in shelters and government-subsidized “transitional housing” on any given night in Los Angeles County, according to a June study by the agency.

In August an audit by the city’s controller found that the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority had missed its goals of placing transients in permanent housing by wide margins.

Perhaps the first clue that new leadership is needed came when a seven-foot-tall sculpture of a homeless man made its debut in Santa Monica as part of a new art installation.

Titled “In The Image”, the statue by Los Angeles artist and activist Ed Massey was unveiled Monday in front of a former Home Savings and Loan building on the corner of Wilshire and 26th in Santa Monica.

It features a bearded figure wearing baggy clothes and a red blanket draped on his shoulder, in what the artist says is a “vision that simultaneously references contemporary social themes and historical religious imagery.”

Not all the locals were impressed with the new piece.

California: Come for the sunshine, stay for the infectious disease!


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