Washington—The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors last week sent a letter in support of the Fighting Homelessness Through Services and Housing Act, a bill that Senator Dianne Feinstein’s (D-Calif.) introduced with Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) to provide more federal resources to address homelessness and its underlying causes.
According to Los Angeles County’s most recent Point in Time count, Los Angeles had a homeless population of 52,765 in 2018.
“Homelessness in California has reached crisis levels and continues to rise,” Senator Feinstein said. “We need an ‘all-of-the-above’ approach that pairs stable housing with training, counselling and mental health services if we’re going to help these Californians get in – and stay in – permanent housing. Local government is key to the success of the grants in our legislation and I thank the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors for supporting this bill.”
“Homelessness is on the rise in counties up and down the state and addressing it will demand the attention and resources of every level of government,” said L.A. County Supervisor Janice Hahn. “Senator Feinstein’s bill would allow us to build more units of supportive housing that don’t just get people off the street but keep them off the street with mental health and drug treatment services.”
Senator Feinstein’s legislation would:
- Authorize $750 million annually for five years to fund supportive housing models that provide comprehensive services and intensive case management.
- Require a 25 percent match for services and housing from non-federal funds.
- Allow grants to be used for any combination of operations and capital building costs, as long as housing and services requirements are fulfilled.
- Require grantees to track outcomes and report on housing stability and improvements in health and wellbeing, including education of children.
Grant eligibility and requirements:
- Grants may go to local governmental entities consisting of cities, counties, regional collaboratives and tribal governments.
- Services must address issues including mental health; substance use disorders; disabling or other chronic health conditions; educational and job training/employment outcomes; and life skills classes.
- Intensive case management must be provided with a ratio of one case manager for no more than 20 people.
- When serving families with children, services available must also include children’s behavioral and mental health services, early childhood education, regular and age-appropriate children’s programming and activities, child health and nutrition screening and education and parenting classes and support programs.
- Services must also have in place protocol for staff training and best practices to identify and prevent child trafficking, abuse, and neglect.
In addition to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, the Fighting Homelessness Through Services and Housing Act is supported by more than 90 individuals and organizations including the mayors of Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Oakland, Sacramento and Santa Ana as well as the Orange County Board of Supervisors, Child Welfare League of America, Children’s Defense Fund, Corporation for Supportive Housing, Mayors and CEOs for U.S. Housing Investment, National Alliance to End Homelessness and the National Low Income Housing Coalition.