Working Together to Tackle Homelessness
Our city leaders are trying to sell us on the “Housing First” with a low barrier entry program as the one-size-fits- all to address the homelessness crisis. Our elected officials tell us that the root causes of homelessness are “complex”. I disagree. The root causes of homelessness are layered. Each layer requires treatment based on the specific need.
My approach would be to:
Implement programs of accountability by Reinstating laws that allow the authorities to provide encouragement for treatment and services when needed.
Help Los Angeles redefine the housing first low barrier entry program. By participating solely in this program, funding for several worthy nonprofits is removed, which then reduces available resources for people with a multitude of different needs. Realignment of the Housing First program would allow the use of nonprofits that are currently unwilling to place women, small children and the elderly at increased risk of victimization.
Expand the Section 8 program to make it more user friendly for both recipients and landlords which will create greater access to housing throughout the city.
Implement an effective 211 system. The 211 system is currently in place, however few people know about it and it is staffed by relatively untrained volunteers. The system needs to have significant resources directed for training and outreach. The dispatch agents should be highly trained to determine which care program should be immediately cross connected or dispatched. All programs that are contracted to participate in the 211 program must agree to have trained staff available 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Program availability should be updated in real time so that callers are connected with providers that can accept them. Additionally, gathering intake data from 211, 911 and multiple county agencies will provide us with an opportunity to predict changes in communities so that we can provide targeted, preemptive services to prevent people from falling into homelessness.
Ensure that each participant will be treated with dignity, respect and is also required to participate in their treatment, recovery and rehabilitation process.
Ensure that those who are able will be provided with life skills training and work skills programs so they can transition into independence. During this process, emphasis should also be placed on building a life with purpose which promotes higher levels of self-esteem.
Implement programs for at-risk youth and persons at risk for becoming homeless. We need to address the needs of our young adults that are aging out of foster care. The costs to our communities and the taxpayers are significantly smaller when we are able to intervene prior to people actually falling into homelessness. Although this is last on the list, it is just as important as every other item combined.
The links below contain articles/statements by homeless advocates who currently provide housing and care.
Their unwavering commitment to helping those most in need is being drowned out by politicians who see opportunity instead of suffering.
This proposed piece of legislation introduced by former Assemblyman Mike Gatto is exactly the type of common sense we need:
The Following report shows the complete lack of over-sight and failures of the current city programs: