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Ending Homelessness In L.A. Will Cost At Least Nearly $2 Billion, City Report Says

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When Mayor Eric Garcetti and the Los Angeles City Council declared last September how the city was going to spend $100 million over the next year to fight homelessness, detractors were quick to point out how even that large sum of money would not be near enough to make a difference.

Turns out they were right, as a new report compiled by L.A. City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana and Chief Legislative Analyst Sharon Tso says that any proper gains against homelessness in the city would cost in upwards of $1.87 billion(!) dollars over the next 10 years, according to KPCC.

The report, however, represents a significant step forward when it comes to the city’s (and county’s) attempts to remedy L.A.'s endemic homelessness in a serious manner.

From the report:

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This significant amount is not inclusive of all supportive service costs and is the result of underfunding and underbuilding affordable housing over an extended period of time, while failing to build adequate capacity to serve and house existing homeless Angelenos

In terms of particulars, the plan outlines several strategies to get people off the street, chiefly by working to place people into steady, long-term housing while they are the directed to other services that can help with addiction, mental health, and job placement.

The report also advocates for a more unified approach among agencies that regularly interact with the city’s homeless, dubbed the “No Wrong Door” system. Under this system, agencies like the Parks Department and L.A. Public Library become hubs for people to access social services.

Additionally the plan makes amends to acknowledge that there is not one single type of homeless person, stipulating that a significant number of the city's homeless population are senior citizens, along with nearly 2,000 who are under the age of 18. The challenges are unique to each person, and the plan argues for an augmented array of social services to cater to the needs of each individual.

Even though housing remains the focus of the plan, arguing so far as to significantly rezone certain districts around the city to allow the renovation of office and residential buildings into "Single Room Occupancy" housing. Where appropriate, the construction of new buildings is also encouraged.

Garcetti has been very vocal about the city's housing crisis, himself pledging to see through the construction of more than 100,000 units within the city by 2021. Yet it's important to consider that all those housing units flying up across the city are hardly what could be considered affordable, or appropriate for people attempting to transition from a life on Skid Row.

Incidentally this particular report was issued the same day L.A. County released its own plan to combat homelessness. Where the city is concentrating on housing, the county is focusing on social services like developing comprehensive discharge plans for people coming out of jail, hospitals, and the foster care system so they don't end up on the streets.

Both the city and the county are expected to have their plans finalized by February, according to KPCC.