Despite the city’s hopes for additional funding for homeless services, the director of Los Angeles County’s Homeless Initiative said Tuesday the county cannot afford to divert more money toward the city’s A Bridge Home temporary shelter program.
“Los Angeles County is heartened by the city of Los Angeles’ progress toward creating desperately needed interim shelters through the mayor’s A Bridge Home program and has committed $11 million a year in Measure H funding to support it,” according to a statement from Phil Ansell, director of the county’s Homeless Initiative. “Unfortunately, this most recent request for additional resources from the county would require defunding other essential programs, such as currently operating shelters and rapid rehousing, which address the immediate needs of people experiencing homelessness.”
The statement came in response to a report by the Los Angeles Times outlining what appeared to be a rare rift between the city and county over homeless funding.
According to The Times, County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas on Oct. 29 forwarded Mayor Eric Garcetti a county staff report suggesting that giving the city money for additional homeless services would require the county to divert money budgeted for homelessness prevention, outreach and rapid rehousing.
County officials agreed in 2018 to provide $50 per night toward homeless services for 600 beds in the city’s A Bridge Home program, using funds from the Measure H countywide sales tax, The Times reported. But the paper reported that Garcetti wanted the county to provide additional funding to provide services for another 800 beds — an added cost of about $14.6 million per year — for a total of 1,400 beds.
The mayor said he thought of it as an expansion of the initial agreement, The Times reported.
Nine of the city’s 30 planned Bridge Home shelters are open. providing a total of more than 500 beds, according to The Times.
In his statement Tuesday, Ansell noted that the county is also building interim housing with supportive services.
“In all, 17 new projects with more than 1,300 beds are underway, including Safe Landing, which will break ground in South Los Angeles on Dec. 9, and the Kensington Campus, set to officially open early next year in Lancaster,” he said.
Ansell said the county is urging the city to consider using its more than $100 million in state grant funding to support the operating costs of expanding the A Bridge Home program.
“The city is an essential partner in our unprecedented movement to combat homelessness, and we look forward to continuing our close collaboration to make sure we are allocating all of our public resources as effectively as possible,” Ansell said.
The joint funding agreement was worked out three years ago, as the City Council placed Proposition HHH, a $1.2-billion bond measure for homeless housing, on the ballot, and the county Board of Supervisors followed by putting Measure H before voters.
>> Want to read more stories like this? Get our Free Daily Newsletters Here!Follow us: