LA Homeless Authority Gets New CEO. Can She Solve the Crisis?
Va Lecia Adams Kellum has just accepted one of the toughest jobs in LA County. She’ll be paid generously for it too, earning a base salary of $430,000 per year.
Kellum is the new CEO of LAHSA, which is short for the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority. The agency is tasked with combating homelessness on LA’s streets. So far, it has failed spectacularly in that mission.
A new day is dawning, says Kellum.
“Together we will transform LAHSA into an instrument of systemic change and a model for addressing homelessness on our streets. Each of us knows the time is now for action,” she said at a new conference last week. Beside her were numerous city and county officials, including LA Mayor Karen Bass, Supervisor Lindsey Horvath, and County Board of Supervisors Chair Janice Hahn.
Bass and Kellum know each other well. Kellum has been helping the new mayor coordinate encampment cleanups in Venice Beach and Hollywood. Kellum is also advising Bass at City Hall.
Since 2008, Kellum has headed the St. Joseph’s Center, a local homeless services nonprofit. City and county leaders hope to replicate some of the successes St. Joseph’s has had in outreach and connection of services.
Kellum takes over for Stephen Simon, who has led the agency on an interim basis since the very public resignation of Heidi Marston in 2019. Marston earned nearly $200,000 less than what Kellum will be making as CEO. Let’s hope the taxpayers get their money’s worth.