In an effort to restructure the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority leadership, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved new steps Tuesday to transform the organization’s approach to homelessness on a countywide level.
With this motion, the board has directed the county CEO to conduct an analysis of the current structure and function of LAHSA and report back in 60 days with recommendations on how to improve the governance structure and transparency of LAHSA.
“I know that my cities have expressed concern that they don’t feel that LAHSA looks at (homelessness) countywide,” said county Supervisor Kathryn Barger, who represents the 5th District, which includes the Santa Clarita Valley. “Something has to change.”
“If not (now), I know my cities are going to feel like they are not being represented fairly and equitably within the LAHSA structure,” Barger added.
LAHSA’s authority was established three decades ago, and since then, there have been changes in the homeless demographic, she said.
According to Supervisor Hilda Solis, who co-authored the motion with Barger, the homeless crisis is now much more widespread.
“While the accomplishments made in the last several years represent an unprecedented level of commitment to combating this crisis, there is an ongoing need to assess the systems in place to assist the county’s most vulnerable,” said the agenda report.
In the last decade, homelessness has risen almost 23% in the county, the report added.
“In the same way that the board reassesses its Measure H funding allocations on an annual basis, it is critical that this same level of evaluation is applied to our systems that support the delivery of much-needed services,” the report said.
Last December, the former director of LAHSA stepped down, which left the position vacant. The board is currently interviewing candidates to fill the position, according to Barger.
Beginning in March, LAHSA will begin presenting comprehensive bimonthly public reports at Board of Supervisors meetings, outlining what work has been done within LAHSA in that time.
The board is expected to revisit LAHSA’s structure and function in 60 days, when the county CEO and LAHSA report back.
“As far as representation goes, if it is a countywide approach, it needs to reflect the countywide board,” said Barger.