Campaign to End Homelessness in Los Angeles


Los Angeles, CA: On April 6 the highly anticipated Bring L.A. Home Plan launched its 10-year campaign to end homelessness in Los Angeles. The report lays out a broad range of strategies to address the complexities surrounding the homeless problem that are present throughout the County. The Bring L.A. Home Blue Ribbon Panel sets in motion a general framework with key strategies that will create momentum for the campaign to end homelessness in Los Angeles.
The report responds to the current homeless crisis in Los Angeles County, which has now been labeled the “Homeless Capital” of the United States. According to the 2005 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count report, the total number of homeless people in the streets and shelters is 82,291 on any one night (point in time) and 221,363 annually excluding those in Long Beach, Pasadena and Glendale. Including homeless count information from Long Beach (4,475), Pasadena (1,217) and Glendale (362), the total homeless count for Los Angeles County is 88,345. Of the 82,291, there are 34,512 that are chronically homeless individuals.
"Bring L.A. Home, the ten year plan to end homelessness, is the product of thousands of hours of hard work by people who have dedicated their lives to this issue long before it got the media attention it currently commands," said Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa. "We are thankful to the authors of this plan and look forward to their work informing the growing collaboration between the City and the County on this issue."
The Bring L.A. Home Plan was originally conceived in 2003, when the County and City convened a diverse 60-member Blue Ribbon Panel, consisting of stakeholders from government, corporations, non-profits and former and presently homeless persons, to develop a 10-year plan to end homelessness in the County. During these past few years, the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) and the Los Angeles Coalition to End Hunger and Homelessness (LACEH&H) were responsible for coordinating the activities and meetings that helped to create the final version of this plan. These activities consisted of 20 focus groups, 24 community forums and over 1,000 people were convened to provide their input.
The report indicates that the cost of “doing nothing” is actually more costly to local taxpayers. Studies have shown that there is extraordinary cost placed by homeless people to communities due to arrests and hospitalizations. The Los Angeles County Sheriff Department estimates it spends approximately $32 million each year on such responses. Based on analysis, hospitalization is 49 times more costly than supportive housing and jail is at least twice as expensive. One month’s stay in a mental hospital could pay for 20 months in supportive housing and one day in the hospital could pay for more than 45 days in supportive housing.
“Tonight, one in every nine persons who is homeless in our country will be in Los Angeles, and that is good reason for the work of the Blue Ribbon Panel and its ambitious recommendations,” indicated Philip Mangano, Executive Director of the Federal US Interagency Council on Homelessness and point person on the issue in the Bush Administration. “ I have followed the work of the Panel from its inception and their deliberate efforts have provided information and an analytical foundation for the creation of an action plan to create results on the streets, in neighborhoods and in the lives of homeless people.”
The Bring LA Home Plan is based on seven guiding principles:
• Prevent homelessness;
• Address the structural causes of homelessness;
• Sustain the current capacity to serve homeless people and build new capacity where it is needed;
• Ensure rapid return to housing for people into the mainstream of society;
• Bring alienated homeless people into the mainstream of society;
• Take a regional approach to the crisis; and
Reaffirm that housing is one of the basic human rights.
A copy of the plan is a available on LAHSA’s website at www.lahsa.org or at LACEH&H at www.lacehh.org or Bring LA Home’s website at www.bringlahome.org

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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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