News flash! Every week, following the Board meeting, Supervisor Kuehl picks five items you might find interesting, important, and/or fun. It’s your way to get a quick rundown of several highlights of the meeting in no more than 5 minutes! Looking for more? Click here to get the entire agenda.
Funding for Interim Housing
I’m very pleased that the Board passed a motion I co-authored with Supervisor Kathryn Barger to create an Interim Housing Capital Funding Pool, which will identify sources of funding for the many interim housing projects we need to help people transitioning to permanent housing.
Interim housing plays a pivotal role in combatting homelessness across Los Angeles County by providing stability for many families and individuals on their way to permanent housing. LAHSA’s 2018 Housing Gaps Analysis identified a need for 3,250 additional interim housing beds. Although Measure H funding can cover much of the cost of closing this gap, additional funding is required to create and support adequate interim housing across the County. This motion directs the Chief Executive Office to identify sources of funding and provide a plan for the creation of the Interim Housing Capital Funding Pool.
In the Third District, these funds may go towards VA Bridge Housing, use of the West LA Armory, and the proposed Canoga Park Bridge Housing. I hope that by investing in the creation of both permanent and interim housing, we can come closer to the goal of ending homelessness and getting #EveryoneIn!
Addressing the Opioid Epidemic
To combat the devastating effects of the opioid crisis, Supervisors Janice Hahn and Hilda Solis introduced a pair of motions this week that, respectively, seek to encourage responsible prescribing practices and expand treatment for those in the grips of this deadly addiction.
A recent study conducted by our Coroner/Medical Examiner, Dr. Jonathan Lucas, when he was still in the County of San Diego revealed that doctors who receive a letter from the Coroner informing them that one of their patients has died due to opioid overdose tend to prescribe opioids less frequently. The first motion recommends that LA County explore the possibility of implementing such a program here. The letter would also encourage the prescribing physician to utilize central databases related to the prescription of controlled substances CURES 2.0, the statewide Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP), and refer the prescribing physician to published prescribing guidelines for opioids. Doctors who use PDMP can better identify patients who may be “doctor-shopping,” or obtaining multiple opioid prescriptions from several different physicians.
The second motion aims to consolidate all opioid strategies and access to treatment so that our approach to this crisis can be as effective, coordinated and streamlined as possible. One of the most important directives in this motion is ensuring that substance-use disorder providers can provide Medication for Addiction Treatment (MAT). MAT, when paired with inpatient or outpatient treatment, has shown to be 25% more effective in the treatment of opioid use disorders than other methods of recovery.
Innovation 2: Trauma Resilient Communities
The effects of traumatic events can place a heavy burden on individuals, families, and communities and create challenges for public institutions and service systems. In keeping with the goal of building Trauma Resilient Communities, this week the Board signed off on several contracts with community-based organizations that will help the County employ meaningful, research-based, collaborative solutions and prevention strategies.
Innovation 2 is a program funded by revenue from the State’s Mental Health Services Act that endeavors to both decrease the incidence and reduce the degree of trauma experienced within communities in Los Angeles County. Innovation 2 is data-informed multi-pronged, focusing on community engagement and empowerment, building partnerships, and addressing the root causes of mental illness, poor health outcomes, and trauma. In addition to contracting with local agencies, the Department of Mental Health will consult with the University of California, San Diego, to evaluate Innovation 2 program services and draw upon research. In the Third District, Safe Place for Youth in Venice and Westside Infant-Family Network will partner with DMH to reduce the impact of trauma in our neighborhoods.
The County is committed to providing comprehensive, community-based care and promoting prevention-oriented services, building Trauma Resilient Communities for the benefit of all residents!
Moratorium on Mobile Home Rent Increases
In response to a previous motion I co-authored with Supervisor Janice Hahn, this week the Board adopted an interim urgency ordinance, which, if finally adopted next month, will place a temporary moratorium on rent increases in excess of 3% per year on mobile home spaces in the unincorporated county.
Mobile home residents are particularly vulnerable to rising rents. These parks tend to be occupied by senior citizens or people of fixed, low, or moderate income. While the term “mobile home” implies a degree of flexibility, the reality for many residents is that the cost of moving from one park to another is prohibitively expensive. Until a regulation ordinance is put forth, this interim ordinance can protect residents from unreasonable and burdensome space rent adjustments, while still providing recourse for park owners who wish to file petitions for relief or noncompliance before a hearing officer.
I strongly believe that implementing a rent stabilization program aimed at mobile home parks can help us address the affordable housing crisis, and ultimately prevent more residents from falling into homelessness.
Technology in Action: Time2Connect
LA County strives to employ leading-edge, technology-based solution to challenges faced by departments, particularly in the area of foster care. That is why the Board passed a motion I co-authored with Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, which aims to improve and evaluate an innovative app developed at the first child-welfare based hackathon, #HackFosterCareLA.
Court-ordered family visitations have been consistently linked to positive outcomes for foster youth, such as fewer behavioral issues and the alleviation of attachment and adjustment disorders. At #HackFosterCareLA, technology professionals, in partnership with DCFS staff, advocates, and others, created a promising concept for a software application (app) scheduling tool that would significantly reduce the time it takes to coordinate, calendar, and confirm these family visits. The motion passed this week seeks to partner with Sidebench Studios LLC to fully develop, deploy, and evaluate this app, called Time2Connect.
Facilitating family visitation is a task that consumes an estimated two million hours of staff time to coordinate four million hours of visits annually. With innovative apps like Time2Connect, we can make sure that foster youth have this essential time with their families and help lighten the load for our hardworking caseworkers!