Councilman Mitch O’Farrell and Council President Nury Martinez filed motions Tuesday to have an assessment conducted on services provided by the county’s Department of Public Health for homeless people.
The council members said general health, mental health and other supportive services for homeless people are currently “severely lacking.”
“The status quo is not working. The city of Los Angeles has witnessed annual double-digit (percentage) increases in people experiencing homelessness, bringing the (city’s) population to well over 41,000 individuals,” O’Farrell said. “Too often, the most vulnerable among us exist on the margins because of mental health issues and easy access to illicit narcotics.”
The motions would have the city’s Housing and Community Investment Department work with the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority to report on services available or lacking, and to hold public hearings on the services that are available.
The motions also seek to set goals to reduce homelessness and make sure resources are dedicated to placing people into permanent housing.
The council members said that between March and August, more than 84% of all calls to the city’s 311 non-emergency call center concerned public health, social services, or more directly were about homelessness.
The county is under a contractual agreement to provide health and mental health services to the city’s homeless residents, the motions stated.
“All any Angeleno has to do is look out their window to see that our efforts on homelessness are not working and the agencies whose job it is to address homelessness are often falling short,” Martinez said. “I recently led the City Council in demanding increased oversight on homelessness, and this is a continuation of those efforts.
“We are demanding accountability at every level and processes that actually address the issues people are facing. We need results now.”
Both motions will first be heard by the council’s Homelessness and Poverty Committee.