Sunday, 27 November 2016 00:00

Report on L.A. city homelessness plan gives a sobering picture of the struggle ahead

Written by Doug Smith | LA Times
An encampment of homeless people along 6th Street on skid row this week. An encampment of homeless people along 6th Street on skid row this week. Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times)

Nine months after the Los Angeles City Council unanimously adopted a comprehensive plan to end homelessness, the first progress report on the plan, released this week, offered a sobering picture of the long and difficult path ahead.

Proposals for storage lockers and toilets for street dwellers are stalled, new shelter capacity is being added at a trickle, and the city bureaucracy moving more slowly than some council members had expected.

“I don’t get that. There’s so much red tape and process in that, ” Councilman Michael Bonin said of an item in the report citing a study of shared housing.  “If there are beds available today, I would like us to be moving on it.”

Voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved Proposition HHH, a bond proposal the City Council placed on the ballot to authorize $1.2 billion in borrowing for homeless housing. The bond program, however, is the long-range element of the plan.

Among its 64 strategies, many involved procedural changes whose effects will be hard to measure. Among them are a “contact card” for police to get homeless people into the services system, training of outreach workers to serve jail inmates and a request for proposals to improve the homeless database system.

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