31Jan

Supervisors Hahn and Ridley-Thomas Fund Strategic Effort to Address Homelessness in South Bay

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 31, 2017
Contact: Liz Odendahl
lodendahl@bos.lacounty.gov
(213) 379-6301

Los Angeles, CA—Today, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a program initiated by Supervisors Janice Hahn and Mark Ridley-Thomas to fund a continued partnership with People Assisting the Homeless (PATH) and South Bay Cities to strategically address homelessness in the South Bay.

The partnership was first initiated in 2016 between LA County, PATH and the South Bay Cities Council of Governments. The program funds targeted outreach to homeless encampments throughout the South Bay, builds a detailed registry of people living at each encampment to help with triaging of resources, and connects homeless residents with permanent housing, mental health services, and substance abuse services.  The motion passed today renews this partnership with $210,964 in new funding.

“These targeted services, connecting people with permanent housing and support systems, are proven solutions to tackling the homeless crisis in the South Bay and across LA County,” said Supervisor Hahn. “PATH and organizations like it are doing incredible work helping people get their lives back on track and I am grateful that we can fund their efforts.  However, this is not nearly enough. We need new funding sources if we ever hope to tackle the homeless crisis we are facing.”

“Voters will have an opportunity on March 7 to approve Measure H, which would invest $350 million annually on proven solutions to fight homelessness with the ultimate goal of putting an end to this humanitarian crisis once and for all,” Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said. “In the meantime, it is crucial that we continue working with partners such as People Assisting the Homeless (PATH) to help those living on the streets find a safe place to stay, as well as affording access to supportive services.”

“As homelessness becomes more visible around the County, the South Bay COG has proactively responded by partnering with PATH to provide street outreach and housing solutions for its local cities,” said PATH Chief Operating Officer Jennifer Hark-Dietz, who also lives in Redondo Beach. “As a resident of the South Bay I’ve had the opportunity to be on both sides of seeing how services affect our community. This COG program has connected 41 people to mental health services, connected 26 people to interim housing, and helped 70 people move into permanent homes.” 

One of the people the South Bay Program helped is a man named Alan. Alan was living in Whittier and working in Long Beach for International Molecular Diagnostics when he was laid off in the recession in 1995.  When both his mother and brother died, he began drinking heavily to cope with his loss.  In 2015, Alan suffered a stroke and when he was released from rehab, had nowhere to live and began sleeping on the streets in San Pedro. Through the South Bay Program, PATH was able to connect Alan with permanent housing in Long Beach. He now has a job as a security guard and is doing very well.

Supervisor Hahn and Supervisor Ridley-Thomas co-sponsored a motion in December to place Measure H on the March ballot to raise the sales tax by a quarter-cent to raise $350 million annually for services to help address the homeless crisis.