Before we lay out what the government and service providers are doing to end homelessness, we have to say that even the best plan is pointless unless we stick to it and make sure it’s working. The Everyone In community is taking action every day to hold our elected leaders and neighbors accountable to the plan to end homelessness. Find out how.
There are many factors that cause homelessness, from medical bills to a critical shortage of housing that is affordable. It is a complicated and enormous problem. The good news is that we know how to solve it.
For the first time in L.A.’s history, the city and county have a comprehensive strategy, based on proven solutions and backed by dedicated public funding. Here’s how it works:
People who experience chronic homelessness need more than a roof over their heads—they also need holistic care.
Supportive housing combines affordable housing with on-site services such as mental health treatment, substance abuse counseling, job training, and support groups.
Since 2016, L.A. has put more than 8,000 units of supportive housing in the construction pipeline. That’s more in three years than was built in the previous 30. Once these homes open their doors, they will permanently end homelessness for people who have had the greatest struggle finding stability.
There is also a huge shortage of affordable housing in our region, and most people experiencing homelessness have simply been priced out. They are teachers, seniors living on fixed-incomes, and single parents who are trying to make ends meet with stagnant wages.
It has been estimated that L.A. needs to build more than 500,000 units of affordable housing to meet the current need. Thousands of new affordable units are in the pipeline, but we need to create much more, while also preserving the affordable housing that already exists.
For too many years, people working to end homelessness were unable to easily share information and resources.
However, in 2013 Los Angeles developed the Coordinated Entry System (CES) to break down bureaucratic barriers and more easily connect people across L.A. County with housing and services.
Outreach teams meet people where they are, assess their needs, and help them navigate the system. These teams, which have tripled in number since Measure H passed in 2017, often consist of a health care worker, substance abuse counselor, mental health advisor, and someone who has experienced homelessness themselves.
The Coordinated Entry System, which is now operating across L.A. County, ensures that resources and time are being spent efficiently and that those experiencing homelessness receive the most effective help for their situation.
Roughly 21,000 people experiencing homelessness in 2018 were able to secure permanent housing. But in the same year, almost 55,000 people lost their homes. Economic hardship is the leading driver of homelessness in our region and is creating homelessness faster than we can end it.
For hundreds of thousands of Angelenos, homelessness can be one unexpected rent increase away. That’s why we need to focus not only on connecting unsheltered people to housing, but on preventing homelessness in the first place. To do that, we need to ensure that tenants have access to rental assistance, legal services, and rent stabilization.
In 2019, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed AB 1482, putting a limit on rent increases statewide for the first time in California history. The law also prevents unjust no-fault evictions. It is one of many measures Californians are taking to protect their neighbors from homelessness.
On the other side of the equation, we need to increase incomes and put more money in the pockets of hardworking Angelenos. An L.A. resident needs to earn $47.52 an hour to afford the median cost of rent. Raising wages to keep pace with higher housing costs is a crucial preventative measure. Community-based organizations across the county have expanded training programs, employment opportunities, and support services to homeless individuals. These initiatives work together to ensure that people are able to secure jobs that provide enough income to afford a roof over their head.
A critical step in preventing chronic homelessness is shortening the length of time someone goes without a home. One way to do that is through rapid re-housing: giving support to those who lost their homes with the goal of moving them into permanent housing as quickly as possible.
This involves helping people experiencing homelessness to find appropriate rental housing, providing them with financial assistance for rent and other costs associated with moving, like security deposits and rental applications, and offering services such as job training, life skills training, and child care.
This Is Where You Come In
Everyone In is a community movement to build public and political will to end our homelessness and housing crisis by fighting for the solutions we know work—the solutions you just read about.
You should know: This plan will work. That’s not an opinion—we have seen these methods prove their effectiveness here in L.A., in other parts of the country, and around the world. But only if we see it through.
When voters passed Prop. HHH to fund supportive and affordable housing, we got organized and made sure the housing got approved. When it took too long and cost too much, we went to our lawmakers at the state and local level and got them to make the process of creating housing easier and cheaper.
We know there is so much more that needs to be done. The last three years represent a massive shift in the attention and resources our city, county, and state have put towards ending homelessness, but it’s still just a start. That’s why we need your help.