• February 7, 2023

LA County Funds Solutions Amid Homeless Emergency

LA County Funds Solutions Amid Homeless Emergency

LA County Funds Solutions Amid Homeless Emergency 150 150 CVillacorte

Four weeks after declaring a local emergency on homelessness, the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a $609.7 million budget for the Los Angeles County Homeless Initiative for fiscal year 2023-24, the largest investment in any given year to date to prevent and address homelessness. This budget will help fund a heightened focus on three key missions for the County in collaboration with cities and other local partners:

  • Reducing encampments to bring unsheltered people indoors
  • Increasing interim and permanent housing placements
  • Ramping up mental health and substance use disorder services for people experiencing homelessness

In addition to the $609.7 million budget funded by 2023-24 Measure H and state Homeless Housing, Assistance and Prevention (HHAP) grants, the Board simultaneously approved an additional $76.9 million to expand housing and services that the County provides in collaboration with local cities, as well as for innovative new programs.

FY 2023-24 Budget Highlights

The $609.7 million represents an additional $61.8 million over last year’s allocation of $547.8 million, an increase of 11%. It includes funding for:

  • Wraparound supportive services for 22,130 permanent supportive housing (PSH) units, expanding the total inventory by 4,630 units, the County’s largest ever year-over-year increase. PSH serves people who have the most complex needs, including chronic medical and/or behavioral health conditions.
  • More than $60 million in time-limited rental subsidies to quickly house people who have recently become homeless and offer them services until they can gradually take on the rent themselves.
  • 5,029 interim housing beds to bring people indoors from encampments as quickly as possible. This is in addition to about 20,000 beds funded by LAHSA, local jurisdictions, and other County programs overseen by the Departments of Health Services, Mental Health, and Public Health, among others.
  • Increased homelessness prevention measures, including a ten-fold increase in funding for “problem solving,” which helps people identify viable temporary or permanent housing and other resources.
  • A 40% increase in funding for programs to help people gain stability as they secure housing. These can include services to help them secure benefits they’re eligible for, as well as employment and income support.
  • The plan to reduce homelessness also relies on deepening collaboration with local jurisdictions, including the County’s 88 cities and local Councils of Governments (COGs). This budget includes $25.5 million to work with local jurisdictions to resolve encampments and co-invest in housing.

In addition to the FY 2023-24 budget of $609.7 million, the Board also approved $76.9 million to fund:

  • A newly established ongoing Local Solutions Fund (LSF) that can be tapped by cities and COGs to help people move out of encampments and into housing in collaboration with the County. This year’s allocation is $20 million.
  • An additional $5 million for the Cities and COGs Interim Housing Fund (CCOGIHS), which builds on an existing $10 million investment. Last year’s CCOGIHS allocation has already been awarded to seven projects so far to fund supportive services at interim housing sites.
  • The Skid Row Action Plan, which aims to comprehensively address the needs of residents in Skid Row, includes interim and permanent housing, behavioral health and substance use treatment services, and more.
  • The “Every Woman Housed” program, which is specifically designed to end homelessness for women and families residing on Skid Row.
  • The RV Encampment program, which is committed to annually assist 300 people living in recreational vehicles to find safer housing solutions and to dismantle inoperable RVs.
  • Specialized outreach to people camped in high-severity fire zones in unincorporated areas of the County.

County Leaders Respond

  • “We are directing an unprecedented amount of funding to our efforts to address the homelessness crisis, but money alone isn’t enough,” said Board Chair Janice Hahn. “More important is putting our resources behind the right strategies, investing in interim housing and supportive services so we can be better equipped to move people out of encampments and indoors, and acting with the urgency this crisis demands.”
  • “As the epicenter of homelessness in the entire nation, we know that more resources are needed in Skid Row to help overcome the consequences of structural and systemic inequalities,” said Supervisor Hilda L. Solis. “To that end, I am grateful that this budget will help fund the Every Woman Housed Plan and the Skid Row Action Plan – holistic initiatives committed to improving the health and wellness of our unhoused neighbors in Skid Row. What’s encouraging is the unprecedented amount of funding going to cities. By providing funding directly to local jurisdictions, we have fortified our homeless rehousing system. I am glad that this budget helps to expand our work with cities to ensure homeless services touch the farthest reaches of our County.”
  • “With this budget, we are putting more resources than ever before into helping people in encampments – including Recreational Vehicle (RV) encampments – move indoors, and urgently increasing our supply of housing,” said Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell. “Our success in permanently reducing encampments relies on the collaboration of our partners in city government – Not just the big cities, but all of the local jurisdictions that are desperate to move people off the streets and into housing. This budget and the Local Solutions Fund, in particular, allows us to provide more funding and ongoing supportive services to communities countywide.”
  • “The Homeless Initiative’s proposed budget demonstrates that every level of Los Angeles County operations is laser focused on expanding and expediating housing and services for people experiencing homelessness,” said Supervisor Lindsey P. Horvath. “I appreciate the work of Homeless Initiative Director Cheri Todoroff and her staff to deliver on the intent of the emergency declaration – to efficiently and effectively provide resources to the people who need our help the most.”
  • “Budgets reflect priorities and I’m pleased this year’s allocation includes funding our city partners so they have adequate resources to do their part,” said Supervisor Kathryn Barger. “I’ve consistently voiced my belief that municipalities know their communities best and can craft housing solutions developed and supported locally. I’m pleased this year’s budget provides them with a $20M Local Solutions Fund so their vision and work is supported.”
  • “Combined with the declaration of a local emergency, this spending plan puts dedicated resources to work where they can do the most good as the County and its partners respond urgently to the crisis at hand,” said Fesia Davenport, LA County Chief Executive Officer.

State of Emergency

The funding approved by the Board is aligned with the most recent recommendations related to the County’s emergency proclamation, which identified the Homeless Initiative as the lead in coordinating the County’s emergency response.  It also conforms to subsequent recommendations for accelerated expansion of services to people experiencing homelessness.

Measure H

Much of the funding was raised through Measure H, a ¼-cent sales tax approved by voters in 2017 to create a 10-year revenue stream to address and prevent homelessness. In the five years since Measure H was enacted, the County’s commitment to addressing the homelessness crisis has resulted in more than 85,000 people finding permanent housing and nearly 115,000 placements in interim shelter. But the Board’s recent declaration of a local state of emergency makes clear that more must be done, and more rapidly.

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