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ABC7 Eyewitness Newsmakers:
Los Angeles County’s increase in homeless count


By Adrienne Alpert

LOS ANGELES (KABC) — The 2019 Los Angeles homeless count showed increased numbers from last year’s 53,000.

L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas says Los Angeles has housed 27,000 using Measure H money, but more people are becoming homeless than anyone could estimate. Speaking on Eyewitness Newsmakers, Ridley-Thomas said, “It’s a matter of keeping up with greater numbers falling into homelessness.”

To read the the rest of the story, click here.

Agenda for California: An African-American Perspective

Shortly after Governor Newsom’s resounding electoral victory, transition team “All-in California” Ambassadors, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and UC Regent Laphonza Butler, convened a coalition of African-American leaders to address urgent issues that African-Americans face throughout the state. This month marks the dividend of this convening – and numerous subsequent meetings – with the release of the Agenda for California: An African-American Perspective.

Supervisor Ridley-Thomas and Gov. Newsom with the Agenda for California: An African-American Perspective. Photo by Michael Short / Board of Supervisors

Embodying the ethos of the people powered approach Gov. Newsom sought in his selection of the duo as “All-in California” Ambassadors, wanting “respected leaders to help him search for innovative ideas and talent across the state”, the Agenda for California: An African-American Perspective answers this call and more.

“As a community, we’ve been disproportionately impacted in so many areas of social well-being that animating the California ‘Dream for All’ in the face of this inexorable truth will take leadership, imagination, and an attentiveness to innovative and focused policy,” said Supervisor Ridley-Thomas. “This Agenda does just that through policy priorities that are achievable, scalable, and evidenced-based. It’s a rock solid foundation for Gov. Newsom’s Administration to build on.”

Edited by Dr. Ange Marie Alfaro-Hancock, a leading academic on intersectional theory, the Agenda delivers to Governor Newsom a sharp and interconnected perspective on five critical policy areas: early childhood education, ending child poverty, fighting homelessness, expanding access to healthcare, and improving redevelopment and economic development. Each section includes not just a diagnosis of challenges, but also provides high-impact solutions that will stem the tide in problem areas Californians face in their daily lives.

The initial gathering, held at SEIU2015 headquarters, included an array of participants from various sectors and industries. Academics, business leaders, philanthropic leaders, healthcare providers, artists, media managers, ecumenical and civil rights leaders, labor, educators, and many more shared their experiences and divided into daylong working groups. Using their respective areas of professional expertise, participants put forth a range of policy solutions to counteract the complex risk factors that originate in racism, sexism, poverty, and geographic inequities to empower Californians to seize the “Californian Dream”.

“I’m excited to have been a part of this special process focused on providing practical solutions to the unique systematic challenges that our community face”, said Dr. David Carlisle, President and CEO of Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science, referencing the outgrowth of the work from that day. “This policy brief will provide an outstanding foundation for measurable concrete action and chart a path to a more prosperous and equitable future for the state of California.”

Click to download the Agenda for California: An African-American Perspective

SPECTRUM: Tackling Homelessness in LA and Beyond

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – With the alarming statewide spike in homelessness that’s impacted California over the past decade, Governor Gavin Newsom has announced a new task force to tackle the management of this crisis. The governor has also pledged $1 billion in state funding toward tackling the epidemic.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas is co-chairing the governor’s task force. The supervisor dropped by The Beat on 1 to offer his insights into what’s behind the startling increase in homelessness, and what we can do to help solve the problem.

For the original story and video, click here.

Governor Appoints Supervisor to Statewide Homelessness Task Force

Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas joins Governor Gavin Newsom and other elected officials for an announcement on the states’ efforts to address the homelessness crisis, at the Henry Robinson Multi-Service Center in Oakland, Calif, on Tuesday, May 21, 2019. (Michael Short/Board of Supervisors)

Governor Gavin Newsom Announces the Formation of the Homeless and Supportive Housing Advisory Task Force

New Task Force will be co-chaired by Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg and Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas

Announcement comes after the Governor’s May budget revision included $1 billion to fight California’s homelessness crisis

Just days after Bay Area counties released their homeless point-in-time figures showing significant increases in their homeless populations, Governor Gavin Newsom announced the formation of the Homeless and Supportive Housing Advisory Task Force and its co-chairs, Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg and Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.

Earlier this month, the Governor released his May budget revision which included an unprecedented $1 billion to fight California’s homelessness crisis. The budget would increase emergency aid for local jurisdictions, make money available to cities and counties directly, and fund permanent supportive housing or innovative approaches like motel and hotel conversions.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas with Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg. (Michael Short/Board of Supervisors)

“No Californian can say homelessness is someone else’s problem – it affects us all,” said Governor Newsom. “Homelessness is a matter of statewide concern, but solutions will come from the local level. Mayors, County Supervisors and City Councils around the state are working hard to reduce homelessness and its underlying causes. We’ll be watching these local and regional solutions closely, to lend a hand and help them scale.”

The Governor announced the new Task Force after touring a hotel conversion site in downtown Oakland that is now the Henry Robinson Multi-Service Center transitional housing facility. Standing alongside Mayor Steinberg, Supervisor Ridley-Thomas, Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and California Health and Human Services Secretary Mark Ghaly, the Governor met with formerly homeless individuals and underscored the importance of state-local partnerships to combat homelessness.

“The growing problem of homelessness is nothing less than a humanitarian, public health, safety and economic crisis facing California,” said Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg. “I’m looking forward to working closely with Supervisor Ridley-Thomas and the administration of Gov. Newsom to develop comprehensive recommendations for how we can get thousands of people off the streets and into housing, and also help prevent thousands more from slipping into homelessness.”

The Homeless and Supportive Housing Advisory Task Force will meet a number of times throughout the year in cities and counties around the state to observe best practices firsthand and receive input from governments and constituents statewide to propose solutions to address the homelessness epidemic. The Governor will announce additional members of the Task Force and future meeting dates and locations in the coming weeks.

“I look forward to partnering with California Governor Gavin Newsom, Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, and other members of this Task Force to ensure that the State of California steps up its efforts in confronting the defining civic and moral crises of our time,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. “It is time for all levels of government to intensify our efforts, and take urgent and swift action to combat homelessness.”

The Governor also named psychiatrist and neuroscientist Dr. Tom Insel as a key advisor providing insight in developing strategies to address mental health issues. Dr. Insel is a nationally recognized leader in the science of mental health and evidence-based practices to assist people suffering from various conditions. Working with Secretary Ghaly, Dr. Insel will inform the state’s work as California builds the mental health system of tomorrow, serving people whether they are living in the community, on the streets or if they are in jails, schools or shelters. Dr. Insel served as director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) committed to research on mental disorders. Prior to serving as NIMH director, Dr. Insel was a professor of psychiatry at Emory University, where he was founding director of the Center for Behavioral Neuroscience in Atlanta. Dr. Insel led the Mental Health Team at Verily (formerly Google Life Sciences) in South San Francisco and, most recently, has served as co-founder and president of Mindstrong Health. Dr. Insel is a member of the National Academy of Medicine.

Homelessness is a matter of statewide concern most efficiently and effectively addressed at the local level through deep regional collaboration. The Task Force will consult with local and regional governments around the state to assess best practices and strategies to increase the production of Navigation Centers, positive housing exits and information sharing. The Task Force should guide local governments as they develop joint regional plans to address homelessness.

The Task Force will deliver at least one annual report to the Governor on the work it performed to guide the creation of joint regional plans to address homelessness, including highlighting best practices and model programs at the local level.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas joins Governor Gavin Newsom and other elected officials for an announcement on the states’ efforts to address the homelessness crisis, at the Henry Robinson Multi-Service Center in Oakland, Calif, on Tuesday, May 21, 2019. (Michael Short/Board of Supervisors)

Statement by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas on his Appointment as Co-Chair of the Homeless and Supportive Housing Advisory Task Force.

“I am honored to have been appointed by Governor Gavin Newsom to serve as co-chair of the recently formed Homeless and Supportive Housing Advisory Task Force.

“I look forward to partnering with Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg to ensure that the State of California plays a pivotal role in confronting the defining civic and moral crises of our time. It is time for all levels of government to take urgent and swift action to combat homelessness.

“Los Angeles County is the epicenter of these crises, accounting for about 40 percent of the state’s homeless population. In 2017, we declared a state of emergency and won voter approval of Measure H, creating an unprecedented funding stream for addressing homelessness. But given the dire shortage of affordable housing, the situation remains tenuous.

“I applaud the Governor for stepping up to the plate, and I look forward to working with my colleagues on the Task Force.”

Ending Child Poverty Bus Tour Kick-off

St. Johns CEO and President, Jim Mangia, California Governor Gavin Newsom, Assemblymember Autumn Burke, and Supervisor Ridley-Thomas in front of the Child Poverty Bus. Photo by Bryan Chan / Board of Supervisors

More than 200 people gathered at the Frasyer Clinic Parking Lot of St. John’s Well Child and Family Center (SJWCFC) for the kick-off of the “End Child Poverty Bus Tour.” The tour, led by the “End Child Poverty in California” coalition, for its Los Angeles stop, featured an array of elected officials, community members and leaders, local parents, and anti-poverty advocates. Standing in front of the bus that will carry anti-child poverty advocates all the way to Sacramento, Supervisor Ridley-Thomas, Gov. Newsom, St. Johns CEO and President, Jim Mangia, and other elected officials and community leaders spoke at length on the moral urgency of confronting child poverty.

“In the words of MLK Jr.: ‘The curse of poverty has no justification in our age.’ The “End Child Poverty Plan” is an important first step to reducing child poverty in our state.” said Los Angeles County Board Supervisor, Mark Ridley-Thomas. “It also directly connects to our efforts in combatting homelessness. It sends a clear message that our work must be bold and our policy agenda must be steady to lift children and families out of poverty.”

“This is a state that is the richest but also the poorest in the nation. When we talk in terms of child poverty, the number of children living below or near the poverty level is nearly than half of the children of this state,” said California Governor Gavin Newsom. “But we finally have a plan for the millions of Californians who deserve more and we’re talking about implementing this plan in a strategic and nuanced way. This is about doing justice to our ideals.”

State legislation that created the “Lifting Children and Families Out of Poverty Task Force” to develop an anti-poverty plan was released just before Governor Newsom and legislature took their oaths of office in January. The “End Child Poverty in California” Coalition has rallied people and organizations and lobbied elected officials to adopt the Task Force’s End Child Poverty Plan, which would end deep child poverty in just four years when fully implemented. The plan would also reduce overall child poverty by 50 percent over the next decade.

“We are doing this because there almost two million children living in poverty. We are going to change that,” said Jim Mangia, President and CEO of St. John’s Well Child & Family Center. “This is a movement that is powered by a coalition that comes together under the End Child Poverty California coalition that combines the strength of organization and the plan from the Task Force with the wisdom and commitment of elected officials.”

Governor Newsom recently released his May revised budget which includes investments to address deep child poverty. The End Child Poverty Bus Tour’s aim is to highlight this start and create the necessary momentum to pass the Governor’s budget and the End Child Poverty Plan-related legislation this year and next. The coalition on the bus will make stops and hold open press events in Los Angeles, Pomona, Weedpatch, Fresno, Salinas, Oakland, and Sacramento.