The Comprehensive Homelessness Strategies Report—the most comprehensive homelessness strategy report in City history--was drafted by the office of City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana, and was released to the public on January 7, 2016. City Council’s Homelessness and Poverty Committee held two public hearings on January 13th and January 27th.
The passage of this report marks a mile stone in the transformation of how Los Angeles addresses homelessness through a regional approach.
The Report lists more sixty-two recommendations to address homelessness over the next 10 years, and estimates a cost of $1.87 billion dollars. The Report is not an “expenditure plan,” but a blueprint to guide decision making in the prioritization and allocation of funding.
The Report aligns closely with Mayor Garcetti’s guiding principles of decriminalization, housing-first, place-based strategies, and balance between balancing health and safety concerns with the rights and needs of people who are living in unacceptable conditions.
Implementation of the Report will begin when Mayor Garcetti submits his 2016-2017 Budget listing key homelessness priorities.
Key areas of the report are detailed below:
No Wrong Door
The creation of a “No Wrong Door” approach so that homeless residents may access housing services through any City agencies including LAPD, LAFD, and the Public Library System. Each department will designate a homelessness liaison and staff will receive customized training to build awareness of best practices in engaging homeless persons including those with severe mental illness. In some instances, Coordinated Entry System Staff will be co-located at facilities where the homeless residents tend to congregate to connect them to services.
Coordinated Entry System (CES)
Scaling up the coordinated entry system (CES) including the development of best practices such as integrated outreach teams (i.e. Skid Row C3 Team or Venice St. Joseph’s Team), enhanced data sharing and tracking tools, and consideration of certain sub-populations including Transition- Age-Youth (TAY) and Domestic Violence survivors.
The Report supports a housing-first approach, including policies to streamline the planning and zoning process for permanent supportive housing projects, increase investment in flexible housing subsidies (i.e. rapid rehousing), and increased allocation of turnover of federal housing vouchers.
The Report seeks to balance the call for more shelter through suggesting that existing public and private shelter facilities be converted into “bridge” and more permanent housing options. LAHSA is pursuing this idea through the expansion of emergency shelters into 24 hour operations with co-location of local CES providers.
Assistance for the Homeless-El Niño
Mayor Garcetti’s commitment to providing our homeless residents with all the necessary resources to avoid injury and loss of life is reflected in the Report. The CAO and CLA recommend that Council make a $2.1 million transfer in funds to support anticipated costs associated with El Niño related to inclement weather shelters and other matters.
This funding will support the opening of 755 augmented shelter beds at five Recreation and Park sites across the city. These sites were selected on certain criteria such as ADA compliance, access to showers, adequate parking, and separate sleeping and dining facilities.