Dr. Va Lecia Adams Kellum earns support of Mayor Karen Bass, LA County Supervisor Chair Janice Hahn and LAHSA Chair Wendy Greuel in this newly created post as CEO
By Nick Antonicello
VENICE – Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass, in cooperation with LA County Supervisor Chair Janice Hahn have announced their support of the newly created position of Chief Executive Officer of the embattled and controversial Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority or more commonly known as LAHSA, the hybrid governmental entity created to combat the issues of homelessness that has had at best mediocre and mixed results.
The new position has been filled by Dr. Va Lecia Adams Kellum, who is an architect of the new, “Inside Safe” strategy that has seen significant progress here in Venice with homeless encampments being cleared and swept in several locations including Flower, Hampton and Third.
For LAHSA, a super governmental agency of sorts created in 1993 with over 300 employees, 830 individuals, and 240 teams has been designated for nearly 30 years to provide sensible outreach or at least manage this out-of-control housing crisis that is not working and has been the overwhelming, 600lb gorilla in the room facing city and county officials for way too long.
The agency has been without leadership since May 27th when then Executive Director Heidi Marston resigned over a dispute in the salaries being offered to the agency’s front-line workers.
The former executive director was paid handsomely, over $260,000 annually and reported to a 10-member commission of county and city officials whose mission it is to provide oversight as well as implement policies that would change the direction of homelessness, but as the dollar investment in this cottage industry of homelessness continues to swell, the tangible results have been far and few between.
LAHSA, headed by former LA councilwoman and unsuccessful candidate for mayor Wendy Greuel is also on record supporting this new position of CEO as well as this gargantuan pay hike of nearly $200,000 for the new agency head, and called the Adams Kellum appointment “a huge step in the right direction.”
But beyond the obvious ability to accurately count this street population, what are the standards, goals or objectives driven by real data that is reliable to adapt policies that actually assist and help the most vulnerable still on the streets?
This week, LAHSA will conduct it’s annual volunteer driven homeless count with Venice being part of the process beginning on Wednesday.
While some initial progress has taken place on the watch of both Mayor Bass and Councilwoman Traci Park, the size of the salary of the new CEO took some by surprise.
And while unity and cooperation has been the tone of the Bass Administration, some wonder why paying someone more than the President of the United States is the best course of action?
Adams Kellum is currently the President & CEO of the Saint Joseph Center here in Venice, that just received federal aid to the tune of nearly $900,000 from the federal government secured by area US Congressman Ted Lieu. St. Joseph has offered teams to help the most vulnerable homeless individuals in obtaining temporary and permanent housing with mixed results. Under Adams Kellum, the bureaucracy of this not-for-profit has quadrupled, asking many to wonder just how much investment is required before an actual decrease in the homeless population occurs?
Adams Kellum was appointed by Governor Gavin Newsom to the California Department of Housing & Community Development’s “No Place like Home” Advisory Committee and served on the LAHSA Ad Hoc Committee on Black People Experiencing Homeless and the National Alliance to End Homelessness’ Race Equity Network. She is also a member of the Housing California Board.
The total compensation package of Dr. Adams Kellum was not made available at this time with the exception of her title change and salary.
A life-long Californian, Dr. Adams Kellum received her BA from USC, an MA from Ball State and Doctorate from Stanford University.
Nick Antonicello is a thirty-year resident of Venice who covers the issue of homelessness and how it impacts the neighborhood of Venice. Have a take or a tip concerning all things Venice? E-mail Antonicello at firstname.lastname@example.org