Supervisor Sheila Kuehl issued the following statement in response to the LA County Board of Supervisors vote to approve a motion today that will add a new layer of bureaucracy to the region’s already complicated homeless system, and divert critical time, resources, and attention.
While my colleagues and I agree that our homeless situation represents a humanitarian crisis, I do not believe that today’s action will get us meaningfully closer to achieving our number one goal: placing people who are experiencing homelessness more quickly in permanent housing and, also important, preventing people from falling into homelessness in the first place.
Implementing the recommendations of the Blue-Ribbon Commission on Homelessness as outlined in item 4 on today’s agenda, will cause a thickening of the County bureaucracy and a process of administrative seat-swapping that will divert time, resources and attention from our paramount priority. It’s like moving the deck chairs on the Titanic and thinking it will keep it afloat.
Our current system is flawed and heavily burdened, but we have placed 80,000 people in permanent housing, 100,000 people in interim housing, and we have prevented 20,000 people from becoming homeless. What our system needs now is thoughtful, practical, and specific ways to refine the system, bring new and focused attention to the chronically homeless who we so often see on our streets, reduce the inflow into homelessness, and accelerate the rate at which we are able to rehouse people. Concrete approaches to achieve those needs have already been outlined in the “New Framework to End Homelessness in Los Angeles County” and those refinements led by the CEO-Homeless Initiative are moving forward as a result of another vote of the Supervisors today. (Item 26)
Unfortunately, many of the recommendations of the Blue Ribbon Commission are miles away from being able to achieve the very tangible goals that we must meet, and may actually weaken The County’s response to the underlying causes of homelessness. The solution to homelessness is homes, permanent homes, with the supports that will help people stay housed.
I sincerely hope that those charged with implementing the Blue Ribbon directives will keep uppermost in their mind that everything we do should accelerate the process of moving unhoused people into homes and preventing others from ever falling into homelessness.