In some sort of uneducated celebrity-pandering move, Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger nominated a reality TV and talk radio host who recently roiled twitter by declaring COVID a hoax to the LA Homeless Services Authority board of directors.
Apparently, the Supervisor felt his controversial public statements about homelessness were a qualification. Dr. Drew Pinsky is known for believing housing is not a primary part of solving homelessness, however, addiction services like his Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew are.
Everyone from individuals to the National Coalition of Housing Justice spoke up in outrage.
The nomination was withdrawn.
The appointment not only drew ire from local advocates but also prompted strong criticism from the National Coalition for Housing Justice, which published a letter signed by a some of the largest homelessness and housing advocacy groups in the country.
The coalition said it didn't typically weigh in on local issues but that the efforts to combat homelessness in L.A. County were too important not to weigh in.
"Appointing a celebrity who is unqualified and misinformed to a position that makes critical decisions on homelessness policy and program design is both dangerous and alarming," the leaders wrote.
The letter pointed to statements Pinsky had made regarding housing, arguing that it is a "hoax" that the housing crisis is what is driving homelessness, and opinions he has expressed supporting the threat of jail to force someone into shelter.
Beyond his statements about homelessness, "Dr. Pinsky has promoted anti-immigrant rhetoric, claiming 'a large immigrant population coming in carrying parasites and tuberculosis' has contributed to public health challenges in homeless encampments," the leaders said in their letter.