The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Tuesday approved $700,000 in funding for a 50-bed Bellflower shelter that will provide supportive services for homeless individuals.
Supervisor Janice Hahn said she hoped Bellflower would serve as a model for other cities.
“These are the kinds of partnerships that we need going forward,” Hahn said. “I hope other cities will take this as a model. And I always said that if you’re a city out there and you will find the land … we’re more than happy to find the resources that it takes to partner with those who are willing.”
Supervisor Sheila Kuehl also praised Bellflower officials, highlighting a decision by the city not to enforce anti-loitering laws against homeless individuals until social workers make an assessment of the person’s capabilities.
“I think this is a really smart approach that I hope many other cities will take,” Kuehl said.
Bellflower Mayor Sonny Santa Ines said the shelter was a compassionate, “win/win” solution to the city’s homelessness issue.
“Our residents … said that the number one concern is homelessness. It ranked higher than crime, which is kind of unbelievable,” Santa Ines told the board, citing a recent survey of city residents.
Bellflower officials announced in September that they would join in a settlement agreement with Orange County Catholic Worker, a nonprofit organization that sued Orange County in 2018 to demand housing for hundreds of homeless individuals displaced from tent camps along the Santa Ana River Trail.
Under the agreement, Bellflower has committed to provide beds for at least 60% of its unsheltered population. Bellflower officials estimated that 70 homeless individuals live within the city limits.
Bellflower was not a party to the suit, but joined the settlement preemptively, the first city outside of Orange County to do so.
U.S. District Judge David O. Carter, who oversaw the case, said he hoped Bellflower would lead the way for other municipalities.
Los Angeles County officials have highlighted the lack of cooperation from many of the 88 cities that make up Los Angeles County in shouldering the burden of housing the homeless.
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