Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger has allocated $2.3 million from her discretionary funds to increase homeless outreach services across her district.
In her announcement on Monday, the 5th District supervisor said the funding will support four new outreach teams that will provide services exclusively in the 5th District, which includes the Santa Clarita Valley, the Antelope Valley, portions of the San Fernando Valley and the San Gabriel Valley.
“Lifting people out of homelessness requires both expertise and perseverance,” Barger wrote in her statement. “I’ve heard loud and clear from my constituents that more needs to be done to address homelessness in their communities.”
The Los Angeles Homeless Service Authority recently released the results of its 2022 Homeless Count. The results indicated approximately 69,144 people are homeless in L.A. County, almost a 4.1% increase from 2020.
According to LAHSA, the 2022 Homeless Count offered a stark contrast to the results between 2018 and 2020, when L.A. County saw a 25.9% increase.
In the 5th District, the 2022 Homeless Count results showed a total of 7,413 homeless individuals. In 2018 approximately 4,662 people were homeless and in 2020 approximately 5,984 people were homeless, according to LAHSA.
According to Barger, the services will be provided by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Homeless Outreach Services Team, HOST, and LAHSA’s Homeless Engagement Team, which are teams with professionals who specialize in engaging people who are homeless.
“These funds will procure the services of additional deputies and outreach professionals who know how to compassionately engage people experiencing homelessness,” Barger wrote in her statement. “Their model and approach works.”
According to Barger, outreach efforts are performed by professionals from HET and HOST deputies trained in crisis stabilization and intervention.
“Their daily missions proactively seek people experiencing homelessness, build relationships with those individuals, and work to connect them to services and housing,” Barger wrote in her statement.
Helen Chavez, spokeswoman for Barger’s office, said the HOST and HET teams are a partnership, and are a “best practice” that has evolved over several years. These teams take a “compassionate approach” in engaging people and building relationships through multiple sessions.
“It’s a successful model, and there’s a lot of competition for these resources because there’s only one HOST team, and the resources are spread countywide,” Chavez said. “What the supervisor is doing now with her $2.3 million allocation is making sure that there’s going to be a specific HOST and HED team for the 5th District.”
If constituents request services, there will be a response, Chavez added.
“I would say that the supervisor definitely feels that it’s one effective approach,” Chavez said. “I know that she feels strongly that there’s no such thing as a silver bullet. There’s no one way to help people out of homelessness, but she thinks this is definitely a very effective tool that has shown a lot of good results.”