Supervisor Kathryn Barger, whose 5th District includes the Santa Clarita Valley, has authored a motion to create a Blue-Ribbon Commission on Homelessness that, if approved, will provide guidance and recommendations to the Board of Supervisors on reforms to solve the homelessness crisis throughout Los Angeles County.
“The creation of a Blue-Ribbon Commission is critical to finally address that homelessness is a serious crisis,” said Barger. “I have said many times that the status quo is no longer working and it’s time that we engage and collaborate with service providers, government agencies and city representatives throughout the County to come up with new strategies and solutions to bring individuals off the street and provide them with the care and services they deserve. We cannot wait another day before upending our existing systems and approaches while vulnerable residents are dying and left to languish on our streets.”
The Blue-Ribbon Commission on Homelessness, if approved, will bring together internal and external leaders as thought partners to help solve this issue. The proposed makeup of the Commission will include nine members, five of which will be appointed by each Supervisor, and one each nominated by the Mayor of Los Angeles; the Los Angeles City Council President; the Contract Cities Association; and the Councils of Government.
The proposed Commission will be directed to research homelessness governance reports and best practices from across the nation. They will also be asked to review, with County Counsel and the Chief Executive Office, the existing Joint Powers Authority that governs the County’s participation in the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, with an assessment of the articulated powers of the organization and its limitations; along with the fiscal and operational implications if the County renegotiates or withdraws from the LAHSA Joint Powers Authority altogether.
“While the County has tried valiantly through the years to develop programs to serve people experiencing homelessness, we need to hear from our partners at the local level – those representatives from the 88 cities throughout the County, along with our Councils of Governments and our contract cities partners – to vastly improve our work on homelessness,” Barger said. “It is my ardent hope that this all-hands-on-deck approach will provide the depth of thought and critical feedback necessary to find solutions. In addition, this effort is intended to improve accountability, transparency and inclusivity for all involved.”
The Commission would develop its recommendations and report based on robust presentations and feedback provided during regularly scheduled meetings with relevant County departments and agencies, key stakeholders, service providers and local leaders. Information presented will include a briefing on the existing homelessness strategies funded by Measure H and the scope of its limitations and approaches suggested by the Departments of Regional Planning, Public Works and the Los Angeles County Development Authority to increase affordable housing. If approved, the BRCH will also take into consideration the effectiveness of existing mental health care and substance abuse services that are provided to people experiencing homelessness and strategies to improve these efforts.
If it is approved by the Board of Supervisors, the Blue-Ribbon Commission on Homelessness will present its report to the Board within six months and will then sunset.
The motion will be heard by the Board of Supervisors at the Tuesday, July 27 board meeting and can be found [here] on the Board’s agenda.