Los Angeles spending up to  $837,000 to house a single homeless person

About 1,200 units have been completed since voters approved the spending in 2016 which was then a centerpiece in a strategy intended to get thousands of people off the streets.

LOS ANGELES: A USD 1.2 billion programme intended to quicklybuild housing for Los Angeles' sprawling homeless population is moving too slowly while costs are spiking,

with one project under development expected to hit as much as USD 837,000 for each housing unit, a city audit disclosed Wednesday

About 1,200 units have been completed since voters approved the spending in 2016, which was then a centerpiece in a strategy intended to get thousands of people off the streets.

But the tally of units built so far is "wholly inadequate" in the context of the homeless crisis,said the audit issued by city Controller Ron Galperin. In recent years,

homeless encampments have spread into virtually every neighborhood, while the population has climbed to an estimated 41,000 people. Many are drug addicted or mentally

The program "is still unable to meet the demands of the homelessness crisis," Galperin said in a letter accompanying the 31-page report.

The pace of development is sluggish,he said, while the cost of each unit continues to rise -- in some cases to "staggering heights."

Most of the units are studios or one-bedroom apartments. The audit found 14 per

cent of the units build exceeded USD 700,000 each, and one project in pre development is estimated to cost almost USD 837,000 per unit.

The audit noted that higher prices for construction materials during the pandemi including lumber, along with labour shortages could be contributing to rising costs