Solis and Barger Motion Ensures Funding of Public Safety Homeless Teams in Measure H Planning Effort

Following the Board of Supervisors approving Measure H funding allocation strategy recommendations, the Board passed a motion, co-authored by Supervisors Hilda L. Solis and Kathryn Barger, that identifies key ways our unaccounted homeless population can be fully reflected as the County continues to move forward in Measure H efforts. The motion also calls for the allocation of funds for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and other local law enforcement agencies to create an expanded Homeless Services Team that will collaborate with other public safety agencies, County Departments, and emergency service providers.

“As we move forward in our efforts to implement Measure H, it is vital that all of our county agencies collaborate effectively with our partners in law enforcement who are on the frontlines dealing with the homeless crisis.”  Supervisor Kathryn Barger said, “This motion also requires a review of methods to engage agencies that have not been traditionally part of the discussion, but should be.  In addition to law enforcement, these include agencies who are also impacted by homelessness and will be helpful in combatting it; Libraries, the Department of Parks and Recreation, Public Works, the Coroner and METRO.”

“During this year’s Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count, we saw a lot of affected families and people who we know were not accounted for,” said Supervisor Solis. “Many people suffering from homelessness are men, women, and children of color, especially Latinos, who are not being counted and therefore the County is failing to provide them the resources they need to get back on their feet. There is an entire segment of the homeless population who, while they aren’t sleeping in encampments on the street, but are sleeping on a family member’s couch now and then, or in a car, or move from motel to motel – they go uncounted, but they also need these funds.”

The motion includes a 90-day report back from the County’s Chief Executive Officer to identify the unaccounted homeless population in the Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count and how we can best service them with Measure H funds. Secondly, the motion also asks that County Departments and regional agencies, such as County Library and Department of Parks and Recreation, are included in the Measure H Funding allocation process. Lastly, the motion enables cities and councils of governments to join the Measure H efforts and builds up the capacity of law enforcement agencies, such as Sheriffs and Police Departments, to assist with populations suffering from homelessness.

“It is important to expand our efforts in providing resources to those living in homeless encampments. County staff and nonprofits often won’t venture into these areas without a police or sheriff escort,” continued Supervisor Solis. “Today’s motion ensures funding for cities, Sheriff, and others who are on the frontlines of the homeless crisis and enables them to create their own Homeless Services Teams.”

Currently, the LAPD has a HOPE (Homeless Outreach Partnership Endeavor) Team that provides service referrals, safety, and other assistance to people suffering from homelessness and those trying to provide them with resources. In many cases, HOPE Team members are on a first-name basis with many within the homeless communities they serve. However, until today’s motion, neither the Sheriff nor non-LAPD local law enforcement agencies had the dedicated resources they needed to create their own supportive outreach teams dedicated to homeless populations.

In this year’s count, nearly 58,000 homeless people were accounted for. Significant increases included: 41% in the number of homeless children, 64% in the number of homeless transition-aged youth (ages 18 to 24), and 63% in the number of Latinos who were homeless.  Notably, 40% of the total homeless population in the County is African-American. Even with the enormous undertaking of the volunteer-driven Los Angeles Housing Services Authority (LAHSA) Homeless Count, there still exists a hidden homeless population that is underserved.

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