The L.A. City Council on Feb. 9 reached a critical milestone by adopting a comprehensive strategy to help end homelessness.
Recognizing there is no one strategy to reduce record-high homelessness in Los Angeles, the new plan outlines specific approaches to help individuals living on the street. From the woman escaping domestic violence to homeless youth; persons with mental illness or those with substance abuse problems.
The newly adopted plan includes dozens of solutions to properly address the myriad of needs in the homeless population. Winning the war on homelessness will require time, a combination of short-term and long-term solutions, a plethora of services, and, of course, housing, and jobs. But we’ll get there.
It’s about getting the single mother with her two children out of their car and back into housing as quickly as possible. It’s about getting John or Jane Doe into transitional housing and wrapping services around him or her to address their addiction issues. It’s understanding that everyone has different needs, and as caring individuals we have a moral obligation to meet them.
Every day, we are making strides and doing everything in our power to help reduce the number of people and families living on the streets, in tents or vehicles.
The full report is extremely thorough, but here are a few of the main highlights:
- Strengthen Coordinated Entry System, a no-wrong door approach, countywide system that would track homeless residents and connect them to resources;
- Expand first responder (law enforcement, fire departments, and paramedics) training for homeless;
- Identify public land for potential affordable and homeless housing and temporary shelter;
- Establish employment development programs for homeless;
- Increase the availability of rapid re-housing, such as with housing subsidies, to keep people from becoming homeless.
I’m sad to say, this is an issue that hits a little too close to home for my taste. In fact, Council District 9 has the largest concentration of homeless in the City outside of Skid Row.
That is why my office has implemented a few local measures to alleviate the crisis in our own backyard.
As of January, we now have additional homeless service providers solely dedicated to conducting outreach in District 9. These folks are based out of our Constituent Services Center and are out in the street daily interacting with those in need and connecting them to much-needed services.
We will be organizing a comprehensive task force that will include local homeless service providers such as the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) and Homeless Outreach Program Integrated Care System (HOPICS), LAPD, and Clergy. However, it is important that we address not only the needs of the homeless population, but also the concerns of the community as well.
Right now, we have an unprecedented collaboration with the city and the county, and it’s important to keep the momentum going. This is not a battle that is going to be won over night. It’s going to be long term and shaping how we prevent homelessness with housing and economic development is a big part of that fight.
If you want to learn more about our local efforts, please call our Constituent Services Center at (323) 846-2051.
Curren D. Price Jr.,
Councilmember, Ninth District of Los Angeles