A Los Angeles City Councilman proposed Wednesday a new approach to addressing the city’s homeless crisis, suggesting the city create an advisory board composed of the very people affected by the issue — the currently or recently homeless.
“We set ourselves up for failure if we do not take into account the experience of people who have been homeless,” Councilman Mike Bonin said. “Programs that sound good on paper or in a City Council meeting may not work given the complexities of being without housing. We need to be listening to the people who can tell us if the programs taxpayers are paying for are working as intended.”
The panel would be modeled after other city advisory commissions and would provide expert and real-world experience to help guide city actions on homelessness.
Bonin said there have been efforts by nonprofit organizations and government bodies to employ homeless people, and billions of dollars are being invested in supportive housing. But the homeless population has lacked any form of democratic representation.
“As a result, elected officials and policymakers rarely hear when programs fail to work as advertised, when resources and staff are misaligned, how new ordinances impact people who are homeless, or how sexism, homophobia and institutional racism impact services,” Bonin said.
Bonin’s motion asks the city’s chief legislative analyst to make recommendations to the City Council on the most effective way to establish a “Commission on Lived Experience with Homelessness.” Bonin’s proposal also calls for the legislative analyst to consult with people who are or who have been homeless as they prepare their recommendations.
The proposal was referred to the council’s Homelessness and Poverty Committee.