With funding from Measure H, Los Angeles County and its cities are teaming up to quickly place thousands of homeless people into permanent housing that comes with the supportive services, rental subsidies and other assistance needed to thrive.
The Board of Supervisors approved a motion by its Chairman, Mark Ridley-Thomas, and Supervisor Sheila Kuehl that creates a template for such joint County-city efforts. Under this partnership, the County will provide supportive services that would go hand in hand with rental subsidies and other assistance from cities.
To date, LA, Long Beach, Pasadena, Burbank, Glendale, Pomona and Redondo Beach have committed a combined total of 2,084 rental vouchers that can be distributed to the homeless. Using the template, the County can streamline the delivery of supportive services – which can include healthcare, mental health and substance abuse treatments, case management, even job training – to the beneficiaries of those rental vouchers.
LA County’s Community Development Commission is currently working with Compton, Santa Monica, Culver City and other cities to ensure their own assistance to the homeless is also matched with supportive services. This wide-ranging collaboration is unprecedented in the nation.
“Homelessness is the defining civic issue of our time and addressing it requires all hands on deck,” Chairman Ridley-Thomas said. “By working cooperatively, efficiently and urgently, the County and cities are not only taking people off the streets but also putting them on a path to long-term stability and recovery.”
West Hollywood Mayor John Heilman said the key is providing permanent supportive housing as opposed to merely housing. “What we are seeing on the streets are people having problems with substance abuse and mental health issues and physical challenges, and we can’t get them the help that they need without both shelter and supportive services.”
LA City Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson said, “Homelessness tends not to recognize municipal boundaries, so it requires all of us – from neighborhood to neighborhood, block to block, city to city, council to council, mayor to mayor – to work together to end homelessness in our time.”
“Through the Supervisors’ commitment highlighted by today’s vote, people experiencing homelessness in LA County, including the City of LA, will get the wraparound and rental assistance services they need and deserve,” LA City Councilmember José Huizar said.
Measure H is intended to end homeless for 45,000 people across the County within the next five years, and prevent homelessness for another 30,000 people, including women and children, veterans, seniors, foster youth and survivors of domestic violence. The ¼-cent sales tax approved by voters in March is projected to raise $355 million annually for 10 years.