The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved an initiative to have the L.A. County CEO’s Office develop an urgent housing plan for individuals who experience homelessness Tuesday, to aid more than 44,000 people who are unsheltered across the county.
County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, who represents the 5th district, which includes the Santa Clarita Valley, and Janice Hahn, supervisor for the 4th district, introduced a motion to the board to help provide additional shelter in the county to account for the rise of homelessness, according to the agenda report.
“We’re at a critical junction in our efforts to combat the humanitarian crisis on our streets,” Barger stated in a news release. “Our current approach to building housing is unsustainable, unaffordable and inefficient. My motion organizes and streamlines the county’s work to construct interim and permanent housing.”
According to the report, after working with different departments, such as the directors of the Public Works, Regional Planning and Public Health departments, as well as others, county CEO Sachi Hamai is expected to have the cost and timeline of the housing plan prepared to present to the supervisors on Feb. 4.
“We need to address homelessness with the same level of urgency as we would a natural disaster,” said Hahn. “That means changing our strategy, turning our attention to shelters and emergency housing, as well as continuing to build new affordable and permanent supportive housing.”
In addition, the CEO will reach out to different private housing experts to oversee the development and implementation process.
“The government is not the expert in building housing,” Barger added. “Our partners in the private sector know how to get the job done quickly and affordably. With the help of a strike team composed of county departments, I’m confident the private sector expert will think critically and creatively to construct housing rapidly.”
Currently, funding from Measure H, a voter-approved quarter-cent sales tax created to combat homelessness, works to connect those who experience homeless to supportive services; however, it is not necessarily geared to help housing developments.
Mike Foley, executive director at Bridge to Home, a service in Santa Clarita that helps individuals and families in SCV transition out of homelessness, was present at the meeting and called the motion an “all-hands-on-deck and a TNT, today not tomorrow, operation.”
“Now is the time to use every tool at our disposal to bring individuals and families
experiencing homelessness inside,” the report says. “We can no longer wait to intervene in the
humanitarian crisis that plagues every community in L.A. County.”
This item will become a bimonthly set item on the agenda so the board can receive reports on its status, beginning on Dec. 10, the report states.