County adopts Barger initiative for city homelessness funding

Seal of Los Angeles County.

The L.A. County Board of Supervisors approved an initiative by supervisors Kathryn Barger and Hilda Solis to create a framework that allows cities, including Santa Clarita, opportunities to address unique homelessness challenges in their respective areas, and Measure H funding to go with those solutions.

The Innovation Fund framework was unanimously approved Tuesday by the Board of Supervisors. This framework, which gives local governments more direct control over how homelessness funds are spent, was developed after a motion passed in September to have the plan created. The county’s Homeless Initiative developed the plan under the direction of supervisors.

“The county and our local cities share the same goals — to end homelessness in our region and to enhance public safety and health for county residents,” Barger said in a news release. “However, the strategies that work to address homelessness from a large regional perspective are not necessarily the same strategies that work to address homelessness in smaller jurisdictions.”

This framework allocates where the funds, at least $6 million, will be distributed from the available carryover funds from Measure H, a voter-approved quarter-cent sales tax created to combat homelessness. According to the county agenda report, the framework allows for an additional $6 million to be allocated to cities, for a total of $12 million.   

“To effectively combat homelessness, the county must bolster its partnership with city leaders who intend to build shelters and supportive housing and aim to enhance the delivery of homeless services,” Barger said in the release.

Along with funds being allocated from Measure H, Barger’s motion also calls for the board to direct the chief executive officer to execute the new plan in conjunction with cities and councils of government, which represent multiple cities, according to the motion report.

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