Supervisor Kathryn Barger looks to establish a proposed Blue-Ribbon Commission on Homelessness that would provide guidance and recommendations to the Board of Supervisors on reforms to help solve the homelessness crisis in Los Angeles County.
The Board of Supervisors will consider Barger’s motion, co-authored by Supervisor Hilda Solis, at Tuesday’s meeting.
“The creation of a Blue-Ribbon Commission is critical to finally address that homelessness is a serious crisis,” Barger said in a statement. “I have said many times that the status quo is no longer working and it’s time that we engage and collaborate with service providers, government agencies and city representatives throughout the County to come up with new strategies and solutions to bring individuals off the street and provide them with the care and services they deserve. We cannot wait another day before upending our existing systems and approaches while vulnerable residents are dying and left to languish on our streets.”
The proposed commission, if approved, would be directed to research and analyze various homelessness governance reports, studying models from across the nation and providing feedback to the Board regarding the most relevant and effective models, with the intention of implementing reform to help solve homelessness in the county, according to the motion.
The commission would also be asked to report back to the Board with recommendations for a new governance model that is appropriate for LA County, including to review the Joint Powers Authority that governs the county’s participation in the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, incorporating the diverse needs of the region and its 88 cities, “reflecting the various legal and legislative issues that are impacting homelessness policy,” the motion said.
“While the County has tried valiantly through the years to develop programs to serve people experiencing homelessness, we need to hear from our partners at the local level — those representatives from the 88 cities throughout the County, along with our Councils of Governments and our contract cities partners — to vastly improve our work on homelessness,” Barger said in the statement. “It is my ardent hope that this all-hands-on-deck approach will provide the depth of thought and critical feedback necessary to find solutions. In addition, this effort is intended to improve accountability, transparency and inclusivity for all involved.”
The proposed commission, if approved, would meet biweekly starting Sept. 7. The proposed commission would develop its recommendations and report based on presentations from County Counsel, the chief executive officer through the Homelessness Initiative, in conjunction with the LA Homeless Services Authority and the Measure H Citizens Advisory Board.
The commission would also receive feedback from city representatives from each supervisorial District on their local experience in addressing homelessness and access to Measure H funding. They would also get feedback from service providers from each Service Planning Area, including barriers and challenges they have experienced in serving people experiencing homelessness, according to the motion.
In addition, the directors of Regional Planning and Public Works, and the Executive Director of Los Angeles County Development Authority wold provide feedback on approaches to strengthen collaboration and efforts to streamline increased affordable housing. The proposed commission would also collect feedback from the directors of Mental Health and Public Health on approaches to increase access to and improve the effectiveness of mental health and substance abuse services, the motion said.
The proposed commission would present its final report to the Board within six months of its first meeting and will then sunset.