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18,000 Homes for the Homeless in Six Years?

Photo by Greg Lilly Photos via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr
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Housing for the homeless has been a subject of intense debate in Los Angeles for many years, but the LA County Board of Supervisors has a new plan to get thousands of homeless Angelenos off the streets, according to the Daily Breeze.

A special task force found that it would be 40 percent cheaper to house LA County's 48,000 homeless rather than leaving them to the streets where they become ill and face a host of daily challenges and the board believes that it can find permanent homes for 12,000 chronically homeless individuals and 6,000 newly homeless veterans by 2016.

The task force also found that of the $875 million in public resources spent annually on homelessness, most has simply focused on managing the problem rather than a long-term plan to end homelessness altogether. Permanent supportive housing that would offer a roof over one's head and many on-site health and guidance services is now considered a key strategy for LA County moving forward.

Who will pay for all of this? The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation has offered a $13 million grant to make this a reality and the LA County Board of Supervisors supports this vision. Board Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky acknowledges that such a undertaking will be a challenge but that this plan is "not a pipe dream" but is realistic and necessary.

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A final report looking into the county's ability to employ enough qualified professionals for the proposed on-site services is underway and should be completed in 30 days.