Homeowners Can Help in the Fight Against Homelessness

The Board of Supervisors is making it easier for homeowners to build or convert existing spaces into Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), also known as “backyard houses” or “granny flats.” The goal: to help increase the region’s seriously depleted housing stock though the development of safe and livable low-cost housing options.

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas underscored the importance of ADUs in the fight against homelessness. “Addressing a shortage of more than 550,000 affordable units across Los Angeles County will require the expedient deployment of different types of housing, and ADUs are a great way for single family properties to be part of the solution,” he said. “It puts rent income into homeowners’ pockets, without altering the character of their neighborhoods.”

He recently hosted workshops at the Exposition Park Constituent Service and Training Center for homeowners curious about building, fixing up or legalizing a rental on their property. Click on the links below to learn more.

Seeking to catalyze the community of architects, designers, planners and creative strategists to re-imagine the potential of ADUs, the County’s Art Commission launched Part of the Solution: Yes to ADU in partnership with the County’s Homeless Initiative, Department of Regional Planning and Community, and Development Commission.

In January 2018, it announced the winners of an ADU design competition. Participants included ranged from students to established practitioners, who assembled a tangible index of possibilities that can help policymakers, architects and homeowners implement ADUs in their communities.

 

Supportive Housing Takes Center Stage at Summit

CSH’s Deborah De Santis, Mayor Eric Garcetti, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and United Way’s Elise Buik. Photo by Bryan Chan

More than 1,000 people gathered at the nation’s only summit on supportive housing and heard Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and Mayor Eric Garcetti talk about Los Angeles’ passage of ballot initiatives that will collectively raise an unprecedented $5 billion over a decade to address homelessness.

Since voters approved Measure H and Proposition HHH in late 2016 and early 2017, Los Angeles has become an epicenter of supportive housing activity. This prompted the Corporation for Supportive Housing to select Los Angeles as the host of its 2018 summit, which drew attendees from across the US, as well as Canada and New Zealand. The summit included several interactive sessions designed to encourage dialogue and an exchange of ideas.

During the plenary session, Supervisor Ridley-Thomas, Mayor Garcetti, and United Way CEO Elise Buik participated in a panel entitled Leveraging Local Political Will to Create Supportive Housing.

Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said, “We simply seek to scale up our consciousness, our compassion, and our capacity to address homelessness.”

Buik said, “I don’t want to see anyone suffer on our streets. We are creating a movement of people who care deeply about this issue and are part of the solution.” Mayor Garcetti added, “We are here to end homelessness.”

Supervisor Ridley-Thomas championed Measure H, a quarter-cent Los Angeles County sales tax that seeks to end homelessness for 45,000 people in the first five years, and prevent homelessness for another 30,000 people. Mayor Garcetti championed Proposition HHH, a Los Angeles City bond measure that will finance the construction of 8,00 to 10,000 supportive housing units for the chronically homeless. United Way played a crucial role in the campaign to pass both ballot initiatives.

According to the 2018 Homeless Count, the number of people experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles County has fallen for the first time in four years to 53,195 — a three percent decline.

Supervisors Endorse $5B State Budget Proposal on Homelessness

Homeless encampment. Photo by Mayra Vasquez/Los Angeles County

Acting on a motion by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, the Board of Supervisors expressed support for a California State Senate budget proposal that would allocate $5 billion over four years to increase the construction of affordable housing and fund immediate and long-term solutions to homelessness.

“While the Governor’s May Revise sets aside a portion of funds for emergency grants, bolder action and more systemic intervention are needed,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said in the motion. “A new Senate budget proposal is a step in the right direction.”

The 2018-2019 Senate Affordable Housing and Homelessness Proposal was approved on May 16th by a Senate Budget and Fiscal Review subcommittee, and is supported by Senate President Toni Atkins.

The Senate budget proposal includes roughly $2 billion for affordable housing construction, and another $2 billion in funding for programs and housing to address short- and long-term homelessness. It also includes $1 billion over four years for grants to applicant counties to fund interim housing options, rental assistance, capital and operating subsidies.

Even though California’s economy is now the fifth largest in the world, it has an estimated nightly homeless count of 134,278 people, or a quarter of the United States’ homeless population.

California’s crisis of homelessness is occurring against the backdrop of a worsening affordable housing crisis. Governor Jerry Brown’s elimination of redevelopment agencies in 2012 dealt a severe blow to the production of affordable housing statewide. According to the latest Housing Need Report by the California Housing Partnership, the state has a deficit of 1.5 million affordable rental homes – nearly 570,000 in Los Angeles County.

Los Angeles County confronted its local homeless crisis by implementing Measure H, a quarter-cent special sales tax over 10 years that voters approved in March 2017 to end and prevent homelessness. It is expected to generate approximately $355 million annually to help 45,000 families and individuals escape homelessness within five years and prevent homelessness for 30,000 others.

The County has also strived to address the housing shortfall by setting aside its own General Funds, and leveraging other public funds, to construct affordable and special needs housing through the County’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund.

Giving the Gift of Help

Once homeless herself, Shaunte Davis is now helping others get their lives back on track. Thanks to Measure H, she and her fellow “housing navigators” at St. Margaret’s Center in Inglewood help take individuals and families off the streets and into housing. 8

Supervisors Approve $1 Billion Plan to Fight Homelessness

On the heels of an unprecedented commitment to a public planning process, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a wide-ranging set of recommendations to put voter-approved Measure H funds to work for the county’s homeless citizens.

Photo by Bryan Chan / Board of Supervisors

Photo by Bryan Chan / Board of Supervisors

“Today is another historic day in the County of LA that highlights the energy and community collaboration being invested into the question of homelessness,” said Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chairman Mark Ridley-Thomas.

A 50-member planning group composed of individuals from diverse backgrounds convened to develop funding recommendations for the first three years of Measure H revenue. After five public meetings, the planning group, composed of County government staff, as well as formerly homeless individuals, technical experts, nonprofit service providers, and leaders of the faith, business and philanthropic communities reached a consensus.

Over sixty organizations signed a letter to the Board of Supervisors in support of the open planning process and next step to allocate funding to homeless services. Implementing those recommendations will begin in earnest during the new fiscal year, which begins July 1. Core strategies include:
· Sending outreach and engagement teams to reach the homeless on every street corner;
· Providing permanent housing with healthcare and other services;
· Expanding rapid rehousing for the newly homeless;
· Enhancing the emergency shelter system, including for those leavings jails and hospitals; and
· Strengthening the network of community nonprofits already serving homeless single adults, families and youth.recommendations

This landmark funding plan commits nearly $259 million to combat homelessness in the next fiscal year—and tentatively earmarks more than $1 billion to the effort over the next three fiscal years.

In its first five years, Measure H aims to help 45,000 families and individuals escape homelessness and to enable 30,000 others to stay housed. The ¼-cent sales tax was approved by 69.34% of County voters in March 2017. The expanded funding comes as the latest Homeless Count found a 23% increase in homelessness in L.A. County over the past year, now nearly 58,000—underscoring the urgency of the crisis and need for action.

“The data is daunting, but we’re prepared. We have a plan. We’re motivated. And we’re moving forward on time to deliver services that our most vulnerable homeless residents need and deserve,” said Chairman Mark Ridley-Thomas.

Photo by Bryan Chan / Board of Supervisors

Photo by Bryan Chan / Board of Supervisors

Chairman Ridley-Thomas introduced a unanimously approved motion to closely track data and measure progress on measure H goals every six months. To that end, a five-member Citizens’ Oversight Advisory Board will also be reviewing expenditures twice a year and publishing an annual accounting.

For more information on the County’s groundbreaking Homeless Initiative, go to http://homeless.lacounty.gov/.