A commission designed to locate and address issues with the county government’s homelessness programs reportedly found “tremendous” strain on the system in need of “sweeping changes.”
Among their recommendations, the commission stated that more oversight is needed of Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, or LAHSA. It also says the county needs to create a more unified system that better works alongside cities and other government entities in order to create a more “transparent and effective response” to the crisis.
The commission, known formally as the Blue-Ribbon Commission on Homelessness, or BRCH, released Monday a 100-plus-page report delineating seven recommendations needed to improve the region’s current system that helps the homeless.
“I co-authored the motion that created the BRCH because what we’re doing in L.A. County is failing,” said L.A. County Supervisor Kathryn Barger on Wednesday, following the report’s release. “Our rising homeless count numbers prove that. The tents that line our streets prove that. Thousands of individuals in distress prove that.
“We have more than a hundred public, community-based, faith-based and nonprofit organizations dedicated to providing services to people experiencing homelessness, and millions of Measure H dollars in our coffers to fund the work, but our region continues to fall short,” added Barger, whose 5th District includes the Santa Clarita Valley.
Barger said that all 88 cities, including Santa Clarita, deserve a seat at the table in addressing the crisis as well as a greater share of the Measure H funds that can be used to address needs and create housing.
“We are in desperate need of a single and accountable county entity that is empowered to lead homeless services coordination and is resourced to do so,” Barger said. “The devil’s in the details, but the truth is, the county is one of the leading sources of homeless services and support, yet it lacks the organizational infrastructure needed to effectively manage and oversee the delivery of its funds and services.”
The report states that a major issue facing the current homelessness crisis is that the key government entities and service providers “operate in silos” rather than a cohesive system. It also states that LAHSA should transition away from providing direct services to instead assisting in coordinating immediate access through service providers.
The sixth recommendation, in order to improve accountability, recommends that data and metrics be regularly shared between cities, the county and LAHSA and that LAHSA’s operations be monitored by an “ops team” to improve efficiency.
“We, representing the collective voices of those who presented to the BRCH or were interviewed by commission staff, endorse a necessary restructuring that focuses on simplification, urgency and equity in order to save individuals’ and families’ lives,” the report reads. It later adds: “We believe their implementation will advance the goal of ending homelessness, as well as create a more equitable, inclusive, transparent and accountable system.”