Saying he wants to see improvement in the provision of health services for the homeless, City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell Wednesday called for a review of how delivery of such services could be improved under the city’s contract with Los Angeles County.

“There is nothing compassionate about enabling homeless people to live and die in squalor on streets and sidewalks,” O’Farrell said in a statement. “Every day, an average of four homeless people die in Los Angeles. This is not acceptable, and it’s long past time for structural change and aggressive, comprehensive action — and that will not be possible unless we zero in on the city’s contractual relationship with the county, and address the mental health and substance abuse issues that often go untreated in encampments.”

He said drug overdoses have been the leading cause of death for the homeless annually since 2017, while the use of substances laced with fentanyl have exacerbated mental health issues.

O’Farrell introduced a motion that would call on the city administrative officer and chief legislative analyst to report back on the city’s “contractual relationship with Los Angeles County, the delivery of health services in its existing contract and specific recommendations on how to improve the current system.”

“What we have learned from the tragic humanitarian crisis of homelessness and the inadequate response to the pandemic is that our public health system is broken, especially for the most vulnerable Angelenos,” Councilman Kevin De León, who seconded the motion, said in a statement. “Despite not having a public health department, our city has a responsibility to ensure Angelenos have public health services that meet the growing and unfilled needs now facing us. This is a step in that direction.”

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