L.A. Supervisors Approve Homeless Outreach Funding

Homeless person's campsite in Manhattan Beach | photo by Tnkntx via Flickr/Creative Commons License
Homeless person's campsite in Manhattan Beach, one of the cities that to receive funds from the Board of Supervisors  | photo by Tnkntx via Flickr/Creative Commons License

The Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to spend $210,964 to connect homeless individuals in the South Bay with housing options and other resources.

Supervisors Janice Hahn and Mark Ridley-Thomas proposed the funding, citing a successful partnership already underway with People Assisting the Homeless and the South Bay Council of Governments.

"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," Hahn said.

The program -- launched in October 2015 -- has connected more than 600 homeless people to services including mental health, substance abuse and medical treatment and placed 96 individuals in housing, according to the supervisors' motion.

The money will be spent to coordinate outreach at homeless "hot spots" and create a registry of homeless individuals with detail on their special needs and other demographic information to help triage resources and connect people to services.

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PATH's chief operating officer is also a Redondo Beach resident.

"I've had the opportunity to be on both sides of seeing how services affect our community," COO Jennifer Hark-Dietz said.

Hahn offered an anecdote to illustrate the program's success by recounting the story of a Southland man named Alan who was laid off from his job in 1995. When his mother and brother later died, he began drinking heavily to cope.

He suffered a stroke in 2015 and, upon his release from a rehabilitation center, had nowhere to live and slept on the streets in San Pedro, Hahn said. PATH was able to find him a permanent home in Long Beach, and he now has a job as a security guard, she said.

The supervisors also used the moment to urge voters to support Measure H -- a quarter-cent sales tax increase to raise cash to combat homelessness -- on the March 7 ballot.

``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," Ridley-Thomas said.

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