Representatives of People Assisting the Homeless told the city’s Human Services Commission Tuesday that they have resolved problems raised at an October meeting that included serving spoiled food and meals that consisted of no more than an orange and a cup of water.
PATH CEO Joel Roberts and Shannon Legere, a PATH employee, said the organization has solved those problems and also now has available emergency rations in the event of a disaster such as an earthquake.
Legere, responding to a question from commission member Jimmy Palmieri, also said the organization has solved its bed bug problem. “There are no bed bugs right now,” she said. “When clients come in, we ask them to wash all their belongings to avoid bringing bugs in. When there is an outbreak, it’s a process of washing their clothes, disinfecting the mattress and area around the bed.”
Concerns about PATH, which the city pays $300,000 a year to provide services to homeless people, prompted the Human Services Commission last month to establish a subcommittee to focus on problems with the organization.
Roberts told the commission Tuesday that while its contract with West Hollywood calls on PATH to provide beds for ten homeless WeHo residents, PATH routinely houses more than that. PATH has 98 emergency beds at its main building at 341 Madison Ave. in Los Angeles.
“At the minimum, we’ve had 11 West Hollywood residents at any given time. Sometimes many more than that,” Roberts said.
Roberts also said that PATH’s focus has shifted as the homeless population has changed. While PATH used to be focused on people who had lost their jobs and were sleeping on friends’ sofas, it now is focused primarily on placing chronically homeless people in permanent housing.
“When it comes to emergency beds and street outreach, in terms of public funding, it’s just going away,” he said.
“While all this [shift in priorities] is going on, we still need to take care of the people who are there,” said commissioner Steven Davis. “We just want to make certain that the people you do have are receiving what we think they should be receiving.”