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Housing and Homelessness

There's A New Proposal For The Homelessness Crisis: Get Agencies To Work Together

Image of an unhoused community member's bed alongside Penmar Golf Course in Venice.
An unhoused community member's bed alongside Penmar Golf Course in Venice.
(Chava Sanchez
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The Committee for Greater L.A. has released a report identifying some of the “underlying problems” and are now proposing a new solution for how Los Angeles handles its homelessness crisis.

Their answer is “The Center,” a coalition that would include a chief executive and two boards, including a governing board made up of the mayor of Los Angeles, the chair of the county Board of Supervisors and other state and local leaders.

Sarah Dusseault, a commissioner with the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, says agencies need to concentrate on a local approach with collective goals toward solving homelessness.

"The hyper-local approach is always going to be effective, so the combination of hyper-local and regional is what we were trying to tackle with this model."
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Miguel Santana, chair of the Committee for Greater L.A., says while “The Center” could limit the reach of organizations such as the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), it will bring much needed clarity.

"Today, they get conflicting direction. On one day they're being told to do outreach in one way and then they're told very differently from another entity," he said. "And so they're, in many ways, the greatest victims of the lack of a coordinated strategy. What this does is provide them the opportunity to have one set of objectives, one common approach, and one way to engage with the cities in the county."

Together, the boards would come up with specific strategies — for example, how to handle encampments — and propose them to the city council, county supervisors and the community.