Exploring Funding to Address Homeless Crisis

homeless4 (1)

The Board of Supervisors called for exploring options for ongoing revenue dedicated to addressing Los Angeles County’s crisis of homeless.

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, in a motion co-authored with Supervisor Michael Antonovich, said the “best budget projections make it very clear that current County resources are not sufficient to fund initiatives and services to combat homelessness on an ongoing basis, and therefore there is a compelling need to pursue new and sustained revenue.”

Acting on their motion, the Board directed the County’s chief executive officer (CEO) to examine the potential for new revenue streams, including those that might require voter approval. It suggested a Mental Health Services Act-like proposal, among other options, and called for polling and research to determine likelihood of passage.

In February, the Board adopted a Homeless Initiative strategy to reduce the numbers of men, women and children living on the streets or in temporary shelters, currently estimated at 44,000 on any given night. The CEO is recommending $100 million in new, one-time funding for those strategies.

“While this is a significant investment through FY 2016-17, this funding will not sustain the recommended strategies beyond June 2017,” Supervisors Ridley-Thomas and Antonovich noted in their motion. “With dedicated ongoing annual funding, these strategies – coupled with complementary action by cities throughout the County – can have a very significant impact on the number of homeless families and individuals.”

Several advocates for the homeless testified in support of the motion, including Jovenes Inc. development director Eric Hubbard. “You have made a down payment,” he told the Board. “I ask that you continue to fund these solutions, and investigate and explore all options to end the homeless crisis.”