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Housing and Homelessness

LA County Board Of Supervisors Establishes Blue Ribbon Commission On Homelessness

A man on a bicycle rides past a mural that re-creates a neighborhood sign for Skid Row in downtown Los Angeles. Next to the designation for population, it says Too Many.
The L.A. County Board of Supervisors has created a Blue Ribbon Commission to “assess existing structures and systems” regarding homelessness.
(FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images
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Los Angeles will soon have a new task force jumping into the homelessness crisis. The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a motion on Tuesday to create a Blue Ribbon Commission on Homelessness.

The motion from supervisor Kathryn Barger and co-authored by supervisor Hilda Solis is meant to “assess existing structures and systems” and “synthesize everything we’ve learned about serving unhoused Angelenos,” according to a press release.

“Homelessness is a major crisis affecting our communities at every level and it’s time for sweeping changes to the system,” Barger said.

The commission will be made up of 12 members, with one appointed by each of the five supervisors, one by the mayor of Los Angeles, three from the Los Angeles City Council president, two from the Councils of Government, and one nominated by the Contract Cities Association.

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Appointees will be presented to the Board of Supervisors by Aug. 10. Once approved, the commission will develop a final report within six months that will address the implications if Los Angeles County renegotiates, or completely withdraws from, the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority Joint Powers Authority.

Barger has been openly critical of LAHSA, an agency co-directed by the city and county of Los Angeles. LAHSA is the lead agency in the Los Angeles Continuum of Care, which manages government funds for programs and services for people experiencing homelessness.

Robin Petering, a policy co-chair for KTown For All, the volunteer organization that serves Koreatown’s homeless community, said news of a new commission was “disappointing.”

“I think that a lot of people would agree there needs to be changes and reforms to make LAHSA better and make city and county services more accessible,” Petering said. “But creating commissions seems like the way we got LAHSA.”

“It seems like there is already plenty of research out there about what works, so why more bureaucracy?” Petering added. “The big question will be who is on this committee.”

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Petering said she is concerned that appointments to the commission would just provide opportunities for friends of politicians to get seats on the body, pointing to Dr. Drew Pinksy’s nomination to LAHSA by Barger earlier this year. Pinksy’s nomination was withdrawn after a backlash that accused him of promoting policies that criminalize homelessness.

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