Community Feedback on Homelessness



Organizers say a community meeting that begins at 1:30pm today to discuss homelessness in Los Angeles has reached capacity. However, the meeting  that will be held this afternoon at the AT&T Theater, United Way Building, 1150 Olive St., will be live-streamed.

Yesterday the Board of Supervisors voted to conduct its
own analysis of a state proposal to invest $2 billion in permanent supportive housing for chronically homeless individuals with mental illness.

The legislation, dubbed No Place Like Home, aims to repurpose Proposition 63 funds to create a $2 billion construction bond. It has the backing of a bipartisan group of California senators.

Proposition 63 or the Mental Health Services Act, which went into effect in 2005, levies a 1 percent tax on personal income of more than $1 million to support mental health services.

The details of the state proposal are still a work in progress. Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Sheila Kuehl recommended the analysis in a motion that stated, “it is imperative that (the) county is at the table to fully vet this proposal,” as roughly 40 percent of California’s homeless population lives in Los Angeles County.

“We should do everything we can to make sure we get more, rather than less, from this effort,” Ridley-Thomas told the board. “This will help us in our work of trying to lift up our community and restoring dignity and purpose to the lives of individuals who find themselves homeless.”

Kuehl said the county’s analysis could help frame how funds will be
allocated and offer, “a real win-win by protecting mental health services while supporting the use of a portion of the revenues from Prop. 63 for housing.”

The board directed staffers to make sure the analysis includes a
comparison of the benefits of the initiative to those of existing MHSA-funded efforts. Staffers will also work to identify the subset of homeless individuals in L.A. County that could be helped by No Place Like Home and assess how the legislation would affect current programs.

The public will have a chance to weigh in on the county’s own plans to fight homelessness at a downtown community meeting tomorrow afternoon.

The discussion will cover more than 40 draft strategies, the result of policy summits held between October and December of last year — offered to combat homelessness.

After hearing public feedback, staffers will finalize the proposals for
presentation to the Board of Supervisors.