The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Tuesday approved $9 million in Measure H funding to be distributed to cities in an effort to promote community-centric solutions to homelessness.
Supervisor Hilda Solis said cooperation among cities is key to solving the problem of homelessness.
“Ensuring every woman, man, and child has a safe roof over their heads is a top priority,” Solis said. “However, ending homelessness requires a collaborative effort, and we need regional thought leaders to come up with viable solutions. We must leverage all of our resources if we expect to effectively solve our regional homelessness crisis.”
Two-thirds of the $9 million — to be paid out over 18 months beginning in January — will fund projects to increase the supply of interim and permanent housing. The remaining $3 million will be spent on efforts to enhance homelessness services.
Phil Ansell, who heads the county’s Homeless Initiative, said each city has distinct concerns.
“Cities have an important role and a unique perspective on the solutions to homelessness, and the county values each city’s distinct resources, challenges and perspectives,” Ansell said.
Supervisor Kathryn Barger echoed that view.
“This effort will help cities implement tailored approaches to solving homelessness in their communities,” Barger said. “It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach — what works in Lancaster may not be what’s best for Duarte.”
A total of 41 cities submitted plans in response to the county’s call for local solutions, with ideas ranging from hiring homeless coordinators to changing local ordinances to increase local housing stock. Those cites will now be eligible to participate in an request for proposal process. The county’s RFP is scheduled to be released in October.
Supervisor Janice Hahn said she was encouraged by how many cities were willing to be part of the solution.
“Every city and every neighborhood needs to get involved and do their fair share to help our homeless neighbors,” Hahn said.
The total for any one city will be capped at $600,000 unless some dollars go unused at those levels.
The board also asked the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority to set aside an additional $3 million of state homeless emergency aid funds to support the city plans.
Claremont City Councilman Joe Lyons and other city officials thanked the board.
“My hope is that by approving today’s funding for city homelessness plan implementation, we are commencing the formation of the partnership so essential to the success of Measure H,” Lyons said.
Solis called for innovative ideas.
“We know that magic solutions do not exist, but we can make a difference if we all roll up our sleeves, and come together to work creatively and collaboratively with the intent of helping our most vulnerable residents,” she said.
The $9 million in county dollars represents about 2 percent of the county’s planned $432 million in Measure H spending for the fiscal year that begins July 1, 2019.
In a letter to the board, county CEO Sachi Hamai identified a shortfall of $89 million — or 25 percent — in overall Measure H funding for the 2019-20 fiscal year as a result of a three-month delay by the state in collecting the new tax dollars.
That delay didn’t affect spending in the 2017-18 and 2018-19 fiscal years because board allocations anticipated a ramp-up of services, according to Hamai. But the board will be facing a gap come July 1, 2019, based on current tax collections.
Hamai said her office would consider options to bridge that gap as part of the county budget process.
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