The City of Los Angeles today released a draft Homelessness Strategy Report, which lays the foundation for a regional approach to addressing this chronic issue. Drafted by the Chief Administrative Officer and Chief Legislative Analyst, the report was requested by the Homelessness and Poverty Committee in June and represents a commitment shared by Mayor Eric Garcetti and the City Council to scale up best practices for getting people off the streets and into homes.
The report calls for substantially expanded staffing, services, rental subsidies, and permanent housing for the City’s homeless residents. Its recommendations will guide the Mayor’s and City Council’s short- and long-term homelessness policy decisions. The report also identifies potential funding streams and begins to estimate initial costs that will help inform the Mayor’s proposed 2016/2017 budget.
The draft Homelessness Strategy, which coincides with a strategy being issued by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, will be heard by the Homelessness and Poverty Committee on January 13, with a followup meeting later in the month. It is expected to be considered by the full City Council in February.
"For the first time, Los Angeles is creating a sustainable strategy to help our most vulnerable residents and affirm our identity as a city of opportunity,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “The Homelessness Strategy Report gives us the blueprint we need to guide our decision making process, and its recommendations will help us allocate the critical funding we need to address this issue over the next decade. I look forward to reviewing the report in detail, and I am pleased to see that it incorporates the three pillars of my homelessness strategy: scaling up the Coordinated Entry System; preventing people at-risk for homelessness from landing on the streets; and balancing health and safety concerns with the rights and needs of people who are living in unacceptable conditions. I am committed to working with the City Council, and our County partners, to enact a broad-reaching policy and find the funding we need to implement it as swiftly as possible.”
"The extensive work we’ve done lays the basis for the city and our partners to more aggressively confront our estimated $1.8 billion housing gap and improve the availability and efficiency in services while, at the same time address some root causes of long-term poverty," said Councilmember Harris-Dawson, who serves as Co-Chair of the Homelessness and Poverty Committee. “I am especially proud of the collaborative effort that we have taken with the County in preparing and exchanging ideas to ensure that we are focusing our efforts simultaneously, creating short and long term solutions to the crisis we face today. I look forward to reducing homelessness across our City with a particular focus on people of color as I've come to learn that this is by far the largest segment of the homeless population in the City and County."
“This report represents months’ worth of work in the Homelessness & Poverty Committee where we literally began building a strategy from the ground up – creating the necessary infrastructure and institutional knowledge to address homelessness that did not exist until now,” said Councilmember José Huizar, who serves as Co-Chair of the Homelessness and Poverty Committee. “This report is an important first step, and I look forward to continue working with Committee Co-Chair Harris-Dawson, Mayor Garcetti, Council President Herb Wesson and all our City Council colleagues in the coming days to address homelessness and give hope to tens of thousands of people looking for a second chance at a better life.”
"We have come together ready to pull the most vulnerable Angelenos up and off of the streets and into housing," said Los Angeles City Council President Herb J. Wesson, Jr. "The City Council is well on its way to crafting a strategic plan that not only creates a blueprint for Los Angeles moving forward, but also complements the county and state's efforts to combat homelessness."
Last fall, City leaders pledged $100 million in funding to address homelessness. At the Mayor’s request, the City Council in December approved $12.4 million in emergency relief funding, which is being used to get Angelenos off the street and out of harm’s way. With El Niño winter storms already hitting the Southland, these dollars are helping expand temporary housing and other critical services that meet urgent needs.
- Some of the principles of the Homelessness Strategy Report include:
- Adopting a “No Wrong Door” approach to improve the City’s interactions with homeless people. From police officers to librarians, City employees will be empowered with the tools, relationships, and resources necessary to connect people in need to services and housing;
- Establishing a focused homelessness governance infrastructure in the City so that there is institutional knowledge and accountability. This includes establishing a Homelessness Czar/Coordinator;
- Continuing to expand, improve and use the Coordinated Entry System as a core process that matches homeless people with vital resources;
- Embracing the “Housing First” approach;
- Using City funds to leverage Federal, State, and County dollars to fill unfunded gaps;
- Making more housing available at all income levels;
- Working closely with LAHSA for expert guidance and support;
- Ensuring that services and housing are provided in all L.A. communities.
- Since June, the Homelessness & Poverty Committee has taken input and provided guidance to the development of the draft plan, with meetings focused on:
- Findings, trends and outcomes of the Homeless Count
- Improving City department interactions with the homeless
- Identifying and serving different levels of homelessness
- Housing needs/funding
- Homelessness governance structure
- Mental health and health services for the homeless
"I am grateful, encouraged and tremendously impatient,” said Councilmember Mike Bonin, who serves on the Homelessness and Poverty Committee and represents a district with one of the largest homeless populations in the city. “I am grateful we have a blueprint for a genuine, long-term strategy, encouraged by the report’s focus and clarity, and tremendously impatient to make things happen. We need this report’s long-range vision to build sufficient housing, but we also need immediate action that will reduce the number of encampments in our neighborhoods and get people living on our streets the support and services they need and deserve.”
"The report is an important first step in formalizing a policy structure that will help us reach our goal to end homelessness and prevent homelessness in the City and County of Los Angeles,” said Councilmember Curren Price, who serves on the Homelessness and Poverty Committee. “I am proud to be a part of this collaborative effort that will empower us to utilize progressive and innovative solutions as we work to restore hope and dignity to our homeless population, and get them into permanent housing."
"I'm happy that the City is treating the issue of homelessness with the attention it deserves. We have expanded the number of winter shelters to deal with the eminent threat of El Niño and are working on the longer term solution of increasing our housing stock citywide," said City Councilmember Gil Cedillo, who serves on the Homelessness and Poverty Committee. "We have to continue allocating the resources necessary to deal with the challenge before us."
The public is invited to give feedback on the City's Homelessness Strategy Report. Comments can be shared here: http://www.lamayor.org/homelessness-strategy-feedback