Making an Immediate Impact on the Homeless Crisis

MVB_9275a

On a motion by Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Michael Antonovich, the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved investing $15 million on programs to rapidly rehouse the homeless and to prevent families and individuals from becoming homeless.

The money would come out of Los Angeles County’s Homeless Prevention Initiative (HPI) fund, which started with $50 million at the beginning of this fiscal year and recently grew by another $51 million.

“With the harsh winter months approaching, and predictions of a severe El Nino season, there is a sense of urgency and a moral imperative to act now,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said during Tuesday’s board meeting.

image2In Los Angeles County, an estimated 44,000 men, women and children are homeless on any given night, sleeping on the streets or in vehicles, shelters and transitional housing programs. That’s 12 percent more than in 2013 – a dynamic and deepening crisis.

The Board is still weighing how to allocate the new $51 million infusion to the Homeless Prevention Initiative fund. Throughout October and November, the County is holding 18 summits among public and private stakeholders to develop a comprehensive strategy for addressing the homeless crisis, and a report is due in February.

Supervisors Ridley-Thomas and Antonovich, however, believe the Board has a moral responsibility to act sooner rather than later to invest in proven intervention practices and fill known budget gaps in existing crisis response systems for the homeless. For instance, a major source of funds for the rapid rehousing of homeless families with kids under age 6 will be exhausted in March.

“The funding recommendations in this motion would build on existing successful initiatives and allow the County to make an immediate impact while the strategic planning around homelessness occurs,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said.

The motion sets aside:

  • $10 million for rapid rehousing of single adults who are not chronically homeless;
  • $3 million for rapid rehousing of homeless families with children;
  • $2 million to provide assistance to families on the brink of homelessness so that they can get back on their feet and not end up on the streets.

The motion also called for identifying continuous federal, state and other funds that could be used to pay for ongoing services in permanent supportive housing projects.

Supervisors Ridley-Thomas and Antonovich said in their motion, “These strategies have been proven to prevent and end homelessness and would allow the County to make a more immediate and substantive impact in areas with the highest need, while the (County) CEO completes the strategic planning process to address these issues.”