CCA White Paper on Homelessness
Central City Association
November 20, 2015
Homelessness is a human tragedy, and the growth in the homeless population has thrust the Los Angeles region into a State of Emergency. The consequences for our communities and the homeless are dire, and greatly impact the quality of life for all. We offer this white paper to provide immediate recommendations for the City to address this State of Emergency. We commend the efforts by the City and County to date, but now is the time for bold action.
To address this growing problem, we must:
- RECOGNIZE THE HOMELESS POPULATION IS VARIED – We believe there must be a multi-faceted approach that includes shelters, and bridge housing, as well as permanent supportive housing. We know the homeless population has varied needs, and programs should be uniquely tailored to respond to those needs effectively.
- PROMOTE PUBLIC SAFETY – Remove items from the sidewalks in a reasonable and timely manner. Tents, furniture and debris fill City sidewalks, negatively impacting our businesses and residents and posing a public health and safety danger to all who live and travel through the area.
- MAKE GOVERNMENT MORE RESPONSIVE – Restructure LAHSA to comply with the HEARTH Act. Establish a Housing Unit at City Planning to develop new policies to increase housing production and consider devoting additional City staff to work solely on the coordination of homeless services.
- INVOLVE THE PRIVATE SECTOR – Provide incentives to create new housing. The House LA Initiative is a good start and we encourage the City to review best practices in other cities. Consider more cost effective ways to provide housing, including the use of alternative materials.
Los Angeles has reached a tipping point as a city, and we must take immediate action to address those already living on the City’s streets. We must act to prevent individuals from ever becoming homeless. Better educational opportunities, more housing at all income levels and increased employment are critical. Layers of services devoted to helping people cope with mental illness and overcome addiction before they fall into homelessness must be an integral part of any approach. Most of all, the City needs private investment to continue and must foster an environment to support that investment. While we must address this current State of Emergency, we must also seek out long-term solutions to address homelessness.
To read CCA’s full White Paper and recommendations, click here.