My News LA: Public Health Creates New Permits, Standards for Temporary Housing

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Tuesday approved an ordinance to set new public health standards for the network of temporary housing providers offering 7,700 beds to homeless individuals countywide.

Each of the 234 publicly funded facilities — out of an estimated 327 total — is already subject to a contract that sets out health and safety standards. But public health and other officials said it was time to do more, and the new ordinance will require permits and routine inspections to ensure quality.

“As we work to expand interim housing options for individuals and families experiencing homelessness, we must also ensure that new and existing facilities meet health and safety requirements,” Supervisor Hilda Solis said.

Public health workers already inspect apartments, motels and boarding homes. Under the board’s direction, some specifically tailored requirements will be added regarding the availability of bathrooms and storage for personal belongings. Operators will also be required to have enough clean linen and bedding and to do laundry at least weekly.

Interim housing is the first stop for many individuals on the way to permanent, affordable housing, said Supervisor Janice Hahn.

“We have to ensure that these are clean, safe places to live,” Hahn said.

Operators who provide food will also be required to pull an additional permit and comply with retail food codes.

No permit fees will be charged.

“Our goal with Measure H has always been to create communities where everyone can live with dignity and purpose, and this includes shelters and other interim housing facilities,” Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said.

The ordinance will take effect Jan. 1.