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.
Help for Families Experiencing Homelessness
Los Angeles’ increasingly unaffordable housing market, coupled with the huge COVID-19 related economic downturn, has created a perfect storm for struggling renters. Tens of thousands of households will be facing evictions, and many of them are families with children. The Board has taken significant steps over the past seven months, with the creation of the Eviction Moratorium and our Eviction Defense Program, Stay Housed LA, to create protections for our most vulnerable residents.
At the same time, we must also ensure that we have the strongest housing and homeless services system possible to help keep people in their homes and to help those who have fallen into homelessness get back into their homes. Project Roomkey has helped thousands of people experiencing homelessness comply with public health guidance during the pandemic. Still, some families experiencing homelessness may fall just outside of the criteria to be housed through Project Roomkey. These families still need housing, so I brought a motion, adopted by the Board, to expand the eligibility criteria to include all families experiencing homelessness. Temporarily housing families through Project Roomkey helps make sure they don’t fall through the cracks, so that homeless service providers can help get them on a path to stable, permanent housing.
Grooming Facility Ordinance
We know that pets are part of so many families, so the Department of Animal Care and Control is working to ensure that your pets are safe and well-cared for when they visit the groomers!
Based on a similar ordinance passed in the City of West Hollywood, the Board passed an Animal Grooming Ordinance that strengthens protections for pets and pet owners. Requirements for grooming facilities included in the ordinance:
• Groomers must consult with pet owners before grooming to learn of any potential health or temperament concerns
• The facility must obtain permission to use sedatives, medication, or electronic control devices
• Grooming Facilities must have a working relationship with a veterinarian to provide timely care if needed.
The ordinance also establishes minimum training and supervision requirements for groomers.
Addressing Predatory Lenders in LA County
High-cost lenders like payday loan companies charge exorbitant interest prices compared to traditional financial institutions, knowing they are often the last resort for low-income residents. These businesses are usually concentrated in lower-income areas, frequently communities of color, where people have fewer credit options available during a financial crisis.
To prevent continued overconcentration of predatory lenders in low-income areas, the Board passed an amendment to the Count Code, further regulating these “alternative financial institutions” and adding spacing requirements.
Predatory lenders are just one of the mechanisms by which an unjust system perpetuates a cycle of poverty. We need to take the measures necessary to financially empower LA County residents and give them a hand up.
Families Belong Together
In 2017, the Trump administration elected to experiment with an unimaginably cruel “zero-tolerance” policy at the border, separating children from their parents in a sickening and sinister attempt to deter asylum-seekers. Family separation will forever remain a stain on America’s history, and this week, the Board voted to condemn this despicable practice once again and to do our part to reunite and help heal families that may have ties to LA County.
This week, reports were released showing that 545 children have not been reunited with their families because their parents cannot be found—a tragic figure made all the more horrifying as it was entirely predictable and preventable. According to DHHS, these children were released to sponsors or foster care. The trauma these children have experienced from being separated from their parents could last a lifetime. We must identify any children with ties to LA County, and provide them with needed services and support. This motion, authored by Supervisor Hilda Solis, directs the Office of Immigrant Affairs to convene a workgroup to help reunite families and provide those services.
On an entirely unrelated note, you can make a plan to vote for elected officials that represent your values at plan.lavote.net.
Addressing the Digital Divide in Underserved Communities
The events of the past year have reinforced the importance of access to and ability to use technology. Still, around 5.5% of LA County households lack a computer, and almost 12% lack reliable internet access, particularly in lower-income communities. We need to address the digital divide so that all LA County residents can maintain connections to critical safety net services and our youth can keep up with their education through remote learning.
This week, the Board passed a motion co-authored by Supervisors Hilda Solis and Kathryn Barger that calls on the County’s Internal Services Department to implement a new program to empower youth and small businesses in underserved communities that are adversely impacted by the digital divide and connect them to technology, resources, and opportunities.