The Los Angeles City Council Tuesday requested a report on the status of homeless and unaccompanied immigrant minors living in the city, and what might be done to assist them.
Councilman Mitch O’Farrell introduced the motion asking the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority to prepare the report, and the council voted 13-0 in support of his request.
According to O’Farrell’s motion, there are an estimated 66 unaccompanied minors in the county — up slightly from 2018 — and 54 of them are in the city.
“LAHSA has advised that unaccompanied minors are difficult to identify because, unlike homeless adults, youth prefer to hide in plain (sight) as they do not like the social stigma of being characterized as homeless,” according to the motion. “LAHSA further advises that they do not keep data on immigration status, either as part of the homeless count or as part of the Coordinated Entry System.”
The motion contends there have been reports about immigrant children falling into homelessness once in the United States.
“LAHSA and the County Office of Immigrant Affairs should provide an analysis with necessary recommendations to resolve this matter,” the motion stated.
The nonprofit organizations El Rescate wrote a letter support of the action last week.
“From Florida to Texas and throughout, there is documentation of the awful conditions faced by children awaiting asylum,” the letter stated. “However, with coordination, local governments like Los Angeles can play a leadership role in ensuring that the children formerly held in custody by the federal government get the care that they need.”
The action also directs LAHSA and the city’s Housing and Community Investment Department to report on housing and shelter needs facing unaccompanied minors who have been held in federal custody through the Office of Refugee Resettlement and to look for ways to provide them services.
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