With funding for additional homeless outreach workers already approved by the Los Angeles City Council, three council members Tuesday introduced a motion to improve the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority’s homeless outreach program.
The motion, which also intends to improve coordination efforts to give people experiencing homelessness a better chance of being placed into housing, was introduced by Councilwoman Nithya Raman and Councilmen Paul Krekorian and Curren Price. It seeks to build on the council’s funding to LAHSA for an additional 15 outreach teams to join its existing 200 teams focused on connecting unhoused Angelenos with housing and services.
“It is imperative that all interactions performed by LAHSA, service providers, county and city staff be integrated and coordinated with the new outreach engagement teams, as we work to place individuals into the 6,700 new beds coming online throughout the city, so that we create a more seamless transition process for homeless individuals and ensure that they have their best chance of success,” the motion stated.
If approved, the motion would instruct the Chief Legislative Analyst, with assistance from LAHSA and the City Administrative Officer, to develop a citywide framework on how the current outreach teams and new outreach teams can coordinate their strategies to “ensure a person experiencing homelessness has the best chance of a successful housing placement.”
The framework would be as follows:
— the outreach strategy would maintain consistency in scheduling and staffing to ensure that outreach workers develop relationships with unhoused people, with a seamless transition between outreach workers on different teams when staffing changes occur;
— LAHSA teams in specific council districts will work with each council office to respond to the issues of homelessness within that area, communicate regularly about challenges in delivering service and transfer information that will be relevant to policymakers as they create policy;
— alternative processes would be used when the traditional Coordinated Entry System conflicts with a local need;
— a process will be established to ensure special needs related to public health or mental health of individuals are met so there is not a delay in servicing an encampment;
— the ways that specific areas for outreach are selected and how encampments are chosen for specific attention will be defined;
— metrics/timelines will be developed for people experiencing homelessness to transition to appropriate interventions;
— outreach teams will provide homeless services at any given hour, including outside normal business hours, to ensure that workers are available to respond and enable engagement at effective times for people experiencing homelessness; and
— the modes of transportation for a person and their belongings when that person is placed into shelter or housing will be defined and allow for flexibility.
According to the motion, this framework would help address some gaps within current outreach efforts, including the lack of a direct line of contact between outreach workers and the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health when a person needs additional services and the lack of a system that allows data to be shared between outreach workers and service providers so individuals don’t have to fill out multiple intake forms.
“The city of Los Angeles is facing a humanitarian crisis. Homelessness has continued to rise despite efforts to build more shelters and more housing solutions,” the council members said in the motion.
“Our neighbors are forced to live on the street in unsafe and unhealthy conditions. Offering these individuals a pathway into housing and into a better life is of critical importance.”
The motion has not yet been scheduled for a vote.