In an effort to improve Los Angeles County’s ability to effectively battle the homeless crisis gripping the region, the Board of Supervisors approved on May 3 a motion by Supervisors Kathryn Barger and Hilda L. Solis to revamp how the County governs its homeless services systems.
The motion sought approval of the seven recommendations made by the Blue Ribbon Commission on Homelessness, a committee formed in July 2022 to engage stakeholders and assess how homeless service coordination could be revamped and improved.
“The Blue Ribbon Commission was charged with taking a hard look at the Los Angeles Homeless Service Authority and coming up with a new governance model for L.A. County homeless services,” said Barger. “The Commission’s job was also to identify how our county can enhance accountability. The end goal is to reform the systematic dysfunction that has resulted in the dismal outcomes we’re seeing play out on our streets, in our storefronts and in our neighborhoods. I believe they’ve done their job and accomplished their mission. We now have a path forward.”
Solis also voiced her perspective. “The County’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Homelessness synthesized everything we’ve learned about serving unhoused Angelenos. It has provided the framework for building a transparent, inclusive, and accountable homeless governance system. But what I am most grateful for is the voice our city partners had at the table to enhance collaboration to support unhoused individuals living in their jurisdictions. Through this motion, I am confident that housed and unhoused residents across the county will begin to see the results they deserve.”
The recommendations include creating a county entity to coordinate and unify the homeless services provided by multiple county departments, and to serve as a centralized housing acquisition unit that houses people experiencing homelessness and connects them to support services. The other recommendations focus on creating a “local solutions” fund through Measure H to fund cities’ efforts to implement their own homeless housing and service plans and to streamline Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority by re-focusing its efforts exclusively on stewarding federal funding contracts and opportunities.
Reflecting on when she first proposed creating the Blue Ribbon Commission, Barger said “Initially, there was skepticism about creating a commission to assess homelessness systems. But nothing has been as comprehensive and collaborative as the Blue Ribbon Commission and its recommendations reflect that commitment. It won’t happen overnight, but change starts with taking the first step. I’m ready to get off of the Titanic.”
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