The City Council Tuesday unanimously asked the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority to deliver a report on types of services it provides to unhoused people and how those resources are delivered.
Councilman Mike Bonin said LAHSA and the city direct resources toward people who are most in need of services and housing, but he said the system leaves behind many people who are better equipped to sustain themselves and might be more easily removed from the streets.
“We all know that there are certain things that inevitably cause homelessness,” Bonin said, citing factors such as a lack of affordable housing, foster care, income inequality and domestic violence.
“There are also known things about what causes homelessness to get worse,” he said. “It makes the number of people in Los Angeles that are homeless increase. It makes the cost of addressing homelessness increase, and it makes the experience worse and the trauma worse for people living on the streets.”
Bonin said the current strategy is “well-intentioned,” but the method is only serving 25% of the city’s homeless population.
“They are essentially told, `You are not homeless enough to get services,”’ Bonin said.
Calls and emails to LAHSA officials were not immediately returned.
Bonin said giving Rapid Re-Housing vouchers and other resources to certain homeless people may not be the best method of helping them, because many end up back on the streets anyway.
Bonin’s motion asks LAHSA to report on the percentage of homeless people who are entered into its system and given a score based on their needs, which homeless people have the greatest needs, which have the least need, and other metrics.
The council also directed LAHSA to report in 60 days on its funding sources, expenses by category and programs, and to report on any performance data it has collected on its programs over the past four years.
According to the motion, the report is needed “in order to identify the strengths and weaknesses of programs and partners and better prioritize the programs that perform best at achieving long-term sustainable solutions to homelessness.”
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