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Housing and Homelessness

LA Approves Homeless Outreach Teams To Carry Out Street Engagement Strategy

A row of mostly blue tents line a 101 freeway overpass in Downtown Los Angeles.
A row of tents above the 101 Freeway.
(Robyn Beck
/
AFP via Getty Images)
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The L.A. City Council voted Friday to fund five new homeless outreach teams for three months and to hire 15 outreach coordinators in each council district for the next six months.

These new teams will carry out the city's street engagement strategy to get unhoused people into shelters. The strategy is intended to accompany a new ordinance allowing council members to ban camping in certain parts of their districts. The city has been criticized for enforcing the anti-camping law before the street engagement program was fully in place.

Councilmember Monica Rodriguez said this work must be budgeted long-term by City Administrative Officer Matt Szabo. Szabo has recommended allocating a little over $1 million for the new outreach teams.

“What I hope going forward, which will be addressed in the forthcoming reports from the CAO, is how we are going to address the existing teams and continuing their funding so that we can sustain this work,” said Rodriguez.

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She credits the outreach teams in her district with playing a crucial role in transitioning people into housing.

Friday’s vote also designated an additional 18 anti-camping zones in Rodriguez's district and five in Councilmember Kevin De Leon's district.

These zones near parks, schools, and other locations where unhoused people are prohibited from sleeping, sitting, or doing anything that would obstruct the public right of way.

In October, the council approved over 50 anti-camping zones around the city.

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