The Los Angeles City Council voted Tuesday to approve a Homelessness Strategic Plan that focuses on expanding services and access to housing for homeless individuals in the City of L.A., as well as creating a “No Wrong Door” policy where homeless individuals are referred to the appropriate service, regardless of what City agency they come in contact with.
The vote coincides with a similar action by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on the same day, representing a growing effort to coordinate homeless strategy and services between the City and County.
The historic vote represents months of work in the City’s first-ever permanent homeless committee, where the report was first called for after the committee was established in June by Council President Herb Wesson, Councilmember Huizar and other councilmembers. The 219-page report was written by the City Administrative Officer (CAO) and the Chief Legislative Analyst (CLA).
The Homelessness and Poverty Committee – co-chaired by Councilmembers Marqueece Harris-Dawson and José Huizar – finalized the report in two meetings after it was released in January.
“I’m proud to have led my colleagues with this historic vote on the Comprehensive Homeless Strategy, which allows for better accountability, collaboration and transparency between the City and County in ameliorating homelessness,” Councilmember Harris-Dawson said. “This is the culmination of several months of work by the Homelessness and Poverty Committee where we explored strategic prevention initiatives, supportive services and shelter programs to meet the needs of our homeless population. Homelessness is the moral imperative of our time and it’s crucial that we fight with urgency to allocate as many resources as possible to restore the dignity, hope and purpose in all Angelenos’ lives.”
“As we move forward with this comprehensive approach, the plan will go to the Homelessness and Poverty Committee to develop funding options, which includes voter-approved measures that will help us extend our reach and maximize public resources to build the housing stock we need. The plan will allow us to review the many touch points and antecedents of homelessness and measure progress as we chart the course to eliminating homelessness.”
“Today’s vote represents a battle of wills in addressing homelessness in the City of Los Angeles,” said Councilmember Huizar. “Along with our partners in the County, we are seeing unprecedented political will to work together toward a common goal of creating, for the first time in the City’s history, a comprehensive homeless policy and governmental infrastructure aimed at reducing the number of homeless individuals living on the streets of Los Angeles. The people’s will is also an important component of this plan. We will need assistance to fund some of these programs, and today helps build voter confidence that the City of Los Angeles has a plan worth implementing. We cannot litigate our way out of homelessness. We cannot arrest our way out of it, and we can no longer continue the failed ‘Out of sight, Out of mind’ containment policies of the past. Homelessness is a Citywide and regional issue that needs a comprehensive, proactive and humanitarian plan and the coordination between the City and County to execute it. I’m proud of the work our Homelessness and Poverty Committee has done so far – – we stand ready to do more.”
The Homelessness Strategy estimates long-term costs of at least $1.85 billion, prompting Harris-Dawson, Huizar and Council President Herb Wesson, to introduce a motion in January requesting a City staff report on a possible voter-approved ballot measure to assist with some of the needed funding while the City also pursues other funding sources, such as a value capture program that could provide additional housing through new development.