(1) Enact both short-and longer-term Solutions
Permanent supportive housing (PSH) plays a vital role, but it takes years – if not decades – to build. We can’t leave people struggling to survive in public spaces as they wait. PSH must be supplemented with strategically constructed emergency facilities to shelter everyone on the streets – while protecting our public spaces and residential neighborhoods. To do this, we need to:
ACCURATELY ASSESS THE NUMBER AND NEEDS OF UNHOUSED PEOPLE
- Collect real-time, by-name data. A single yearly “guesstimate” like our current “point-in-time” homeless count won’t end encampments. To help real people in real time, we must modernize and streamline the transparent collection and analysis of high-quality data. We can’t fix what we don’t know.
- Triage according to individual need. Like all of us, unhoused people have very different needs. By-name data lets us know exactly who needs what help, which allows for better planning and realignment of resources to address unmet or underserved needs.
- Plan for shelters and programs to support specific demographics. These would include sober living; housing for seniors, couples, families, or singles with children; domestic violence victims; veterans; and others – so each demographic can be matched to a supportive environment.
INCREASE MENTAL HEALTH AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE SERVICES
- Invest in recovery housing and peer-based shared housing. Data proves that housing models focused on a culture of recovery, sobriety, community, and accountability are necessary for long-term success.
- Protect and support mental health board and care facilities. We are losing these essential facilities at an alarming rate. We must financially assist the ones we have and incentivize development of new sites.
- Increase emergency mental health/substance abuse services. We need to expand available teams of mental health and substance abuse professionals to respond 24/7 to urgent calls for service regarding unhoused persons experiencing a mental health or substance abuse crisis.
- Consider establishing a City Public Health Department. This will open up new federal and state funding sources for mental and behavioral health and SUD programs, while reducing our reliance on LAHSA and the County.
CREATE ADEQUATE SHELTER/HOUSING, WITH SERVICES
- Appoint an emergency team of land use experts. After decades of talk, we have very few “common sense” safe sleeping sites. We must identify appropriate sites that protect our beaches, parks, schools, and neighborhoods. And we must transparently cost out any building to be done.
- Immediately utilize existing government-owned parcels and properties. By collecting data, we will know how many people we need to shelter, so we can begin to fast track facilities including safe camping, safe parking, and temporary shelters – all with services.
- Scale up solutions we already have available. These include collaborative living, shared housing, affordable suites, dormitory-style housing, and using available infrastructure (including commercial and industrial spaces) for emergency and temporary shelter.
- Streamline efforts to increase our supply of affordable permanent housing and PSH. Building units for single occupants that cost $500K+ will never produce enough permanent housing for everyone on our streets. We must apply sound judgment to get these much-needed units built more quickly and cost-effectively.
- Build the pipeline of qualified service providers, including peer counselors. We must make sure we have identified, recruited, and trained the right teams to run each facility properly.
(2) Prevent homelessness before it happens
It’s far more compassionate and less expensive to prevent encampments before they happen. Yet not enough dollars are directed at preventive solutions. For those at risk of losing their home for economic reasons, we need to do the following:
- Maintain a locally-based 24-hour housing emergency hotline staffed by professionals. We need live case managers, available in real-time, who can connect individuals at risk of losing their home with resources, then follow through to ensure each situation is resolved.
- Increase rental/financial assistance and rapid rehousing programs. For those facing unexpected financial barriers or at risk of losing their housing, we must provide fast and accessible options for remaining housed.
- Protect and expand affordable housing stock. Our City must expedite and streamline the process for development of new affordable housing to protect the most financially vulnerable members of our community.
(3) Adopt a Policy of Compassionate Enforcement
It’s been proven that a focused and sustained effort to move people into housing works, but only with a well-coordinated approach. Law enforcement, outreach/housing providers, government leaders, and public sector resources must be brought together to facilitate the goal of immediately ending encampments and their associated impacts. We know what needs to be done and Traci will work to see that effective protocols are applied all across CD11.
- Utilize existing laws to protect our schools, sidewalks, parks and neighborhoods. We have municipal codes on the books that are currently suspended or inadequately enforced. Our quality of life suffers by not using the law appropriately to protect our children, seniors, residents, and visitors.
- Eliminate permissive “dual residency.” Did you know that people residing in shelters and permanent housing are also allowed to keep tents in encampments? Permitting this keeps people connected to street life, gives an incorrect picture of encampment numbers, and impedes the progress of getting people housed.
- Set clear and accountable choice dates. Once enough shelters are available, and following a specified number of offers of shelter or housing, unhoused people must be presented with a deadline, after which they will no longer be permitted to remain encamped on LA streets.
(4) Establish a city-wide plan, budget, and timeline
Traci is committed to creating a comprehensive and systemic plan to redefine what’s possible and engineer the end of encampments. Our City has spent billions of dollars on bureaucracies, development, and programs that have failed to yield adequate results. LA voters approved Proposition HHH in 2016 and Measure H in 2017, but the painfully slow and outrageously costly results are not what was promised. Instead of 10,000 permanent supportive housing units, we will get about half that number, years in the future. We must be better stewards of public funds – and we must pivot NOW to solutions that help more people faster.
REALLOCATE RESOURCES TO ACHIEVE MEASURABLE RESULTS
- Continue our current City Controller’s comprehensive audit of homelessness spending and apply the findings. It’s time to claw back wasteful or unused resources and redirect them to more cost-effective and immediate solutions.
- Identify current and future funding for homeless resources. Track and monitor all sources of available funding and make appropriate applications for that funding.
- Develop a budget outlining where and how all money will be spent. Traci will demand that the City create and stick to a fiscally responsible budget that accounts both for what must be done in the short-term, and what needs to be done to manage housing and service needs for decades to come.
CHANGE HOW SERVICE PROVIDERS ARE COMPENSATED
- Stop writing blank checks and demand transparency and accountability from our service providers. No-bid contracts must end, and we will demand data-driven performance metrics before awarding funds. Creating the right incentives to achieve positive outcomes is essential. This includes making it a contract requirement to report daily the number of available beds.
- Require that all shelters/housing are well-managed, cost-effective, secure, and results-driven. Ensure that campuses are safe and inviting for residents – including adequate storage, sanitation, security, services, pet access, and communal spaces – with an extending obligation to keep the surrounding area clean and safe.
- Measure performance and hold providers accountable. We need to cancel the contracts of any service provider who fails to meet established goals and scale up our partnerships with those who do. This will also require creating inspection/monitoring protocols and teams.
CREATE AND MONITOR AN ACHIEVABLE TIMELINE
- Ensure that all public and private partners are held accountable. Achieving established results, on time and on budget, must be the minimum requirement to receive City funding.
- Track and monitor progress and make necessary adjustments. Evaluation and course correction must be an ongoing part of the process.
TRACI SUPPORTS THESE CITY COUNCIL MOTIONS:
- CF 20-0769-S2: Motion to review and renegotiate the LA City contractual relationship with LA County for delivery of healthcare services
- CF 21-1468: Motion to identify and report a lot to accommodate the storage of overflow RVs.
- CF 21-0706: Motion to direct CAO, CLA and City Attorney to find out how to withdraw from LAHSA joint powers authority.
- CF 21-1458: Motion to have Housing Dpt, Chief Legislative Analyst, CAO, and City Attorney evaluate contracting procedures with LAHSA and recommend procedures to ensure timely payment to service providers.
- CF 21-0043: Motion to request the City Attorney to report legal options to potentially withdraw letters of commitment for Prop HHH funded projects which are in pre-development phase or whose developers haven’t entered into a formal loan agreement/contract with the City
- Council’s Budget Recommendation CF 21-0600-S20: Motion to instruct Housing Department to report to the Homelessness and Poverty Committee with recommendations on how to reduce per unit development costs from Prop HHH funded projects
TRACI SUPPORTS THESE WESTERN REGION ALLIANCE OF COUNCILS (WRAC) MOTIONS:
- Request for Councilmembers to Cooperate with Member Councils re: Designation of Sites Under LAMC Sec. 41.18: Urges Councilmembers representing WRAC member-councils to consult with WRAC for input as to the designation of sites within their districts for enforcement pursuant to LAMC Sec. 41.18 and bring resolutions to Council as soon as sites are identified to them by WRAC
- Abate and Correct Unsafe and Unhealthy Conditions in Homeless Encampments: Calls on City Council and Mayor to direct Bureau of Sanitation to undertake site clean-ups, trash collection, and sanitizing of all homeless encampments located in the neighborhoods represented by WRAC