In a historic vote, the Board of Supervisors approved the most comprehensive, collaborative and far-reaching action plan ever to be undertaken to address the crisis of homelessness in Los Angeles County.
With more than 44,000 men, women and children living on the streets or in temporary shelters on any given night, the County Homeless Initiative laid out 47 strategies that aim to:
- Prevent homelessness
- Subsidize housing costs
- Increase income
- Provide case management and services
- Create a coordinated system
- Increase affordable housing.
A motion by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, also approved by the Board, underscored the need to allocate funding on the basis of need. About a third of the County’s homeless population live in the Second District.
“This motion reaffirms Board policy for the last three years that homeless investments should be needs-based,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said.
“The gravity of the crisis is profound and if we fail to act now, the problem will be compounded,” he added. “Urgency has to be the mantra of the day.”
The Board created the Homeless Initiative in August 2015 with a mandate to produce a set of strategies that would not only provide the homeless with housing and other services, but also prevent people from becoming homeless in the first place. It convened 18 meetings, or policy summits, involving scores of experts, public and private stakeholders and community partners throughout the 88 cities that make up the County.
“It is imperative that we continue to have leadership at the helm, with the full backing of the County, steering us towards our ultimate goal: a community where homelessness is rare and brief,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said. “Now we must turn our attention to how we sustain our efforts – through ongoing revenue streams – in the fight against homelessness.” Click here for full text of his remarks.
About a dozen of the Homeless Initiative strategies are to be implemented by June 30, or Phase 1, including enhancing the emergency shelter system and expanding rapid-rehousing programs.
Implementation of Phase 2 is to begin in the second half of 2016, while Phase 3 will kick off in 2017.
Aside from stressing that funding should be needs-based, Supervisor Ridley-Thomas’ motion sought to strength partnerships with faith organizations wanting to help the homeless, accelerate the development of affordable and permanent supportive housing by using prefab construction techniques; and other recommendations.