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Homeless

Rising Youth Numbers Swell County Homeless System

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Rising youth numbers swell county homeless system

HOLLYWOOD (WAVE Newspapers) — The county’s homeless services system is housing more young people than ever before, according to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, which held a briefing on homeless youth July 31 at the Los Angeles LGBT Center.

Young people facing homelessness face some of the same issues their older counterparts face, officials said. Many landlords and property managers are refusing to accept Section 8 housing vouchers, which often expire before people using them they can find a home.

“That’s discrimination and it’s malarkey,” said Sage Johnson, a peer advocate at the LGBT Center and a Homeless Youth Forum of Los Angeles member. “Communities are blocking shelters from being built in their neighborhoods and blocking the housing. … I’m glad the providers in this room are doing the work that they do everyday. You’re all saving lives of literally thousands.”

According to the Homeless Services Authority’s 2019 count, conducted in January, the numbers of youth without a home increased 17% in the city of Los Angeles and 22% in Los Angeles County, compared to the overall homeless […]

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Homeless

Can Legislation Solve CA Homelessness Crisis?

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California can’t solve homelessness without more housing. This legislation will be key

by Jim Beall, CalMatters

On any given day, as many as 150,000 Californians are homeless, struggling to exist without the most fundamental of necessities: shelter. 

At the same time, millions of lower-income and middle-class families are struggling to afford a roof over their heads and are just one paycheck or one emergency away from being out of a home.

That’s why I’ve authored Senate Bill 5, which would create the Affordable Housing and Community Development Program. It would be a new, state-backed program that would provide cities and counties the resources they need to help fund the construction of affordable housing, including rental housing, available to very low, low and moderate-income families. This bill would stimulate housing for people particularly vulnerable to homelessness.

Homelessness and housing affordability are complex problems that will not be solved easily, quickly or with a silver bullet. 

Making a dent in this crisis will take cooperation between local and state governments, both playing a role along with non-profits and the private sector so we can begin to address the enormous gap of affordable housing for those most in need.

One major issue is that there is not nearly enough affordable rental housing available to low- and very- low income households. More than 2.2 million extremely low-income and very low-income renter households are competing for only 664,000 affordable rental homes. That leaves more than 1.5 million of California’s lowest-income families without access to housing. Many of these families are on the brink of homelessness.

There also is a dearth of affordable housing for working families.

We need more supply of both. To build it, we need funding.

SB 5 would tap into California’s resources and create a state-local partnership to provide ongoing and sustainable funding to local governments to increase the stock of affordable housing.

Beginning in 2021, SB 5 would provide $200 million annually to local governments. That amount could grow annually and be capped at $2 billion annually.

Gov. Gavin Newsom and Legislature are to be commended for providing hundreds of millions of dollars in this year’s state budget to help local governments plan for more housing, build emergency shelters and provide services for the homeless. 

While this one-time infusion of money is important, our homeless and affordable housing crises aren’t a one-year problem. We need a dedicated program and ongoing funding to help attack these problems over the long-term.

Lawmakers and then-Gov. Jerry Brown eliminated a key source of ongoing funding available to local governments to build affordable housing when they eliminated the redevelopment program in 2011. 

That said, SB 5 is not redevelopment. We’ve learned from the past mistakes and abuses of that program to structure a more accountable financing tool that will be hyper-focused on housing, particularly affordable housing, and the necessary supportive infrastructure.

SB 5 contains strong accountability provisions. 

The legislation would create the Affordable Housing and Community Development Investment Committee, a statewide oversight body that would ensure state priorities are met and empowered to approve or reject all projects proposed by local governments. 

Additionally, cities and counties would submit annual reports that would be reviewed by the Legislature. SB 5 would create an annual cap on funds available, and the Legislature could suspend funding during fiscal downturns. Lastly, SB 5 would ensure funding for schools and community colleges are not impacted.

We need bold solutions to begin to reverse course on the epidemic of homelessness and our lack of affordable housing. We need the state to step in as a partner with the hundreds of local communities struggling to provide affordable housing. That’s why we need Senate Bill 5

_____________________

Sen. Jim Beall is a Democrat from San Jose, representing Senate District 15, Senator.Beall@senate.ca.gov. He wrote this commentary for CalMatters.

This article is produced as part of WeHo Daily’s partnership with CalMatters, a nonpartisan, nonprofit journalism venture committed to explaining how California’s state Capitol works and why it matters.

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Community

WeHo ‘Homeless Services Connect Day’ Enables Program Access – March 4

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WEST HOLLYWOOD — The City of West Hollywood’s Homeless Initiative will host a “Homeless Services Connect Day” March 4 to provide opportunities for people who are experiencing homelessness to access programs and services offered by an array of local and regional organizations.

While the event is free and drop-in, it is aimed at providing connections to service for people who are experiencing homeless; it is not intended for the community at large. The City is working with local homeless services agencies and the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce to provide information about the event that can be distributed to community members experiencing homelessness.

The City of West Hollywood’s Homeless Initiative seeks to effectively address homelessness with a multi-disciplinary, multi-agency, collaborative response. Homeless Services Connect Day will include programs and services offered by local and regional organizations including: shelter; health and mental health services; job readiness assistance; substance abuse treatment; connection to public benefits; non-profit agencies offering food, showers, clothing, and more.

In addition, there will be no-charge health and wellness services available, such as: flu vaccines; HIV testing; and haircuts.

During the past three years, the City of West Hollywood’s Homeless Initiative, in collaboration with grant-funded community partners, has achieved positive measurable results in addressing homelessness. These results include:

  • Placing more than 80 people into permanent housing;
  • Providing more than 16,700 emergency shelter bed nights to youth and adults;
  • Serving more than 300 formerly homeless individuals with substance abuse recovery programs; and
  • Preventing homelessness for hundreds of West Hollywood residents through a combination of rental assistance programs and intensive case management services for those at risk of homelessness, including formerly homeless individuals and older adults.

A brief video highlighting the efforts of the City of West Hollywood’s Homeless Initiative coordinated outreach teams is available on the City’s WeHoTV YouTube channel at https://youtu.be/JTa4e9R8-SI

Wednesday, March 4, 2020 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the West Hollywood Park Auditorium, located at 647 N. San Vicente Boulevard.

For additional information about the City of West Hollywood’s Homeless Initiative please visit weho.org/homeless.

If you are concerned about a community member who is homeless, call the West Hollywood Homeless Initiative Concern Line at (323) 848-6590. If your concern requires time-sensitive assistance during nights or weekends, please call the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station at (310) 855-8850. For life-threatening emergencies or criminal activity, call 911.

For more information, please contact City of West Hollywood’s Strategic Initiatives Division Manager Corri Planck at (323) 848-6430 or cplanck@weho.org. For people who are Deaf or hard of hearing, please call TTY (323) 848-6496.


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Homeless

Man Pleads Guilty in Voter Fraud Scheme on LA’s Skid Row

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LOS ANGELES — A 62-year-old man has pleaded guilty for his role in a scheme where money and cigarettes were allegedly offered to homeless people on Skid Row in exchange for false and forged signatures on ballot petitions and voter registration forms, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

Norman Hall entered his plea on February 19th to one count of circulating a petition with false names. He was immediately sentenced to one year in county jail, placed on formal probation for three years and must complete 100 hours of community service.

Deputy District Attorney Marian Thompson of the Public Integrity Division is prosecuting the case. Eight others face various charges including use of false names on a petition and voter fraud.

The defendants allegedly solicited hundreds of false and/or forged signatures on state ballot petitions and voter registration forms by offering homeless people $1 and/or cigarettes for their participation.

The alleged offenses occurred during the 2016 and 2018 election cycles.The defendants are scheduled to return to court for a pretrial hearing on May 5 .

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