Los Angeles Homeless Situation High on City and County Radar
The evidence that there are more people experiencing homelessness in the city and county of Los Angeles is underscored by data and visual observation. This region is impacted by a multitude of factors which have contributed to the unprecedented action taken by the Los Angeles City Council in September to call for the declaration of a “state of emergency” and the dedication of $100M to address the problem. This acknowledgement helped to make sense of the rise in calls to BID Patrol for assistance from property and business owners. The BID security officers have done what they can to respond to the concerns expressed by the stakeholders, but there are limits to what the BID can do.
In January, both the city and the county are expected to announce the results of several months of strategic planning around this issue. There has been good cooperation between the city and the county, which is has been encouraging. Both short and long-term strategies are anticipated. Further, the city just allocated $12M toward rapid-rehousing assistance (which helps to prevent homelessness) and emergency shelter beds in anticipation of El Nino. The County is working on allocating $100M in the 2015/16 year budget to support strategies to be announced next month.
Meanwhile, closer to home, local organizations who are working to assist and house those individuals who are willing to come in off the street can use support from the business community. Many of these organizations are listed at Hollywood4wrd.
Finally, traditionally, the LA region has conducted a point-in-time homeless count, but this year, the federal government is requiring an annual count. Therefore, individuals who are interested in volunteering for this year’s count, scheduled for Thursday January 28, 2015, are encouraged to register at www.theycountwillyou.org.
Approximately 150 volunteers will be needed to count the 30+ census tracts that comprise Hollywood.
Kerry Morrison is the founder and project director of Heart Forward LA. She is the former executive director of the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance and served as a Mayoral appointee to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA).