Photo by John Schreiber.
Photo by John Schreiber.

Los Angeles County “families in crisis” may get more money to help them with immediate needs as the Board of Supervisors has voted to allow dollars once designated for permanent housing to be spent on “crisis housing.”

The goal is to get families off the street until longer-term solutions can be found.

Supervisor Janice Hahn recommended creating more flexibility in the way housing dollars are used.

“Every night, more than 800 families are homeless, on the street, with nowhere to go,” Hahn said in her motion at Tuesday’s board meeting. The motion was co-authored by Supervisor Sheila Kuehl.

With a vacancy rate of less than 2 percent in some cities in Los Angeles County, it can take on average three to nine months to find permanent housing for eligible homeless families.

Emergency shelter has to be secured every night, but so-called “crisis housing” can be set up for months at a time and provides families with a safer, more stable place to live.

Very little funding has previously been made available for that kind of interim housing.

Rev. Andy Bales, CEO of the Union Rescue Mission, thanked the board and emphasized the need, saying the demand at the shelter was worse this year than during the recession which followed the 2008 financial crisis.

“We’ve hit a high this year of 196 moms and kids and dads at the mission. 136 were children,” Bails said. “We’ve never seen anything like this … the numbers at our mission are up 55 percent and the giving is down 30 percent.”

Hahn said it was simple.

“This is one of those things where we’re basically getting rid of some bureaucracy,” Hahn said. “We are getting rid of some red tape.”

—City News Service

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