Thursday, May 3, 2007

AD HOC Committee on Homelessness, Special Meeting

Submitted by a Steering Committee Member who attended the meeting:

Apritl 25, 2007

Ad Hoc Meeting on Homelessness
L.A. City Hall, 200 S. Spring Street – Rm. 1060
Councilwoman Jan Perry, Chair

Meeting called to order by Councilwoman Perry 3:35p.m.

Councilmen Rosendahl and Garcetti were not present so Counciwoman Perry began with Item 2 on the Agenda.

This was a budget meeting. Various groups from the city and county presented their monetary needs for the fiscal year 2007-08 to the Councilwoman.

The actual budget requests will not be offered here as notes. The amazing thing that became evident is that the city and county have been spending billions of dollars on needs and services for the homeless. The need is that allocations not be “flat rate” allocations, but that the allocations reflect cost of living increases so they stay proportionate.

Based on the figures I heard and admitting that I am a novice to this type of meeting and the “jargon” they use, I’d say that if Los Angeles has 250,000 homeless people, then approximately $14,500.00/year is spent on each person.

LAHSA receives more than $600 million from lending agencies through HUD annually. The CO of this group, Mike Arnold, acknowledged close to another $100 million from city sources and county funds.

However, they spend approximately $75,000 for the winter shelters.
  • Winter shelters go from December to March
  • There is no criteria for entry
  • There is no requirement for participation in services
  • There is no maximum length of stay
  • Winter sheltering costs about $18.00/night/person
Additional services equal additional costs, this servicer needs more dollars from funding sources

Regarding winter programs, LAHSA found that many people returned year after year for winter housing. They want to make more of an effort to get these people into transitional housing this year. Last year they served 6,406 people including 46 children.

They placed 192 into transitional housing and 191 stayed in the transitional housing for one month .

From the public, on speaker stated that if the city would follow its own laws and provide 30% affordable housing units in each new construction, there would be less need for finding homes for people on the street. He reiterated this point several ways, but the Chairperson Perry told him he was off-track and to sit down.

Another community member brought newspaper articles delineating the various amounts of money given the city agencies to build affordable housing…the money ranged from $250,000.00/unit to $110,000.00/unit. To date, the units do not exist. This person stated there needs to be better checks and balances and auditing practices on money given the city for this purpose.


How do you determine how many homeless are in an area???
The census for the homeless is based on TRASH!
Trash is collected and evaluated and then a number of people is affixed to that.
They also call randomly selected residents throughout the city.

This process lends itself to subjectivity. Clearly waste can signify #’s of people, but randomly calling residents throughout the city would mean the organization could adjust the numbers of homeless by calling residents either in dense areas of homelessness or in less dense areas of homelessness.

There is also another implication here: regarding homeless centers such as St. Joseph Center here in Venic, which relocated nonresidential being located in residential/commercial areas – the city knows we, the residents, will suffeer increased trash and refuse thereby reducing quality of life due to the bringing of these “clients” to service centers. It puts the lie to the Councilman’s statement that our quality of life will not be affected.

At 4:13 p.m., Councilman Rosendahl entered and the Chair returned us to Item 1 on the Agenda – Mental Health Services.

Dr. Martin Southerd of the County made the presentation.
The focus of Mental Health Services will be prevention and early intervention.
Wellness Centers are planned to be established throughout the city.

Proposition 63 which the voters passed in the last election is now called the Mental Services Act. Money for the prevention and early intervention activities will come from this fund and will help finance the Wellness Centers.

Councilman Rosendahl had prepared questions for Dr. Southerd.

What population is most likely to apply for services?
What popultion is most likely to accept services?
How can funding be revised. Evidently there is a funding formula. It includes cost of living baseline. Every county needs to be ab le to stand behind the numbers of homeless.

Discretionary funding: $30 million to distribute. L.A. gets 1/3 of the allocation from the county assignment if the existing compo nent gets approved.

Councilman Rosendahl stated there are 2,500 homeless in our area and 2,500 from Santa Monica. His statement indicated that 37% are mentally ill. He said he had a concern for the impact on communities where the service centers (Wellness Centers) were located

Answer coming to him is that the money is to be used not for building or structure facilities, but outreach and engagement programs. Students are being trained as psychiatriatrc nurses, etc. to provide services.

The Homeless Outreach Team can be engaged in treatment;
  • It needs to be established over time the stress is over steady, careful patient approach over time
  • Councilman Rosendahl needs to apply to CalHFA for help with housing for these facilities.

  • The first line of defense (for whom?) are the agencies who have een involved for 25 – 30 years.

  • OPCC was cited as having an excellent success ratio and program.
  • Twenty nine agencies will be part of this outreach program.

There will be a jail linkage program to provide a bridge for convicts leaving prison and reentering society.

This was the end of the mental health part of the agenda, I wasn’t able to stay for the final two items on the agenda.

Click on the link below to hear Marvin Southard, Ph.D. of the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health

Comments or suggestions can be sent to:

Members: Councilmember Jan Perry, Chair e-Mail:
Councilmember Eric Garcetti e-Mail:
Councilmember Bill Rosendahl e-Mail:

(Patrice Lattimore - Legislative Assistant - 213-978-1074 or e-Mail

L.A. City Council Directory

Note: For information regarding the Committee and its operations, please contact the Committee Legislative Assistant at the phone number and/or e-mail address listed above. The Legislative Assistant may answer questions, provide materials, and provide notice of matters scheduled before the City Council.

Assistive listening devices are available at the meeting; upon 24 hour advance notice, other accommodations, such as sign language interpretation, and translation services will be provided. Contact the Legislative Assistant listed above for the needed services. TDD available at (213) 978-1055.


(1) Oral presentation by Marvin Southard, Ph.D. of the Los Angeles County Department of
Mental Health relative to Phase II Planning for the Mental Health Services Act Funding in Los
Angeles County.
(2) Oral presentation by Rebecca Isaacs and staff of the Los Angeles Homeless Services
Authority (LAHSA) relative to the LAHSA 2007-2008 Budget, the Homeless Count and the
Emergency Shelter Program.

(3)Oral presentation by Mercedes Marquez of the City of Los Angeles Housing Department
relative to the Affordable and Supportive Housing Trust Fund forecast for 2007-2008.

(4) Oral presentation by Rudolf Montiel of the Housing Authority City of Los Angeles relative to the Continuum of Care 2007-2008.

(5) Oral presentation by Leslie Wise, Homelessness Policy Coordinator in the Office of the
Mayor, relative to the Mayor’s Homeless planning for 2007-2008.


No comments: