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How to keep people from dying on our streets

Posted on 09/16/2023


The City of Los Angeles is in a humanitarian crisis. More than 5 unhoused people die on our streets every day, and there are over 3,000 homeless people in our district alone.

The city government has an urgent responsibility to take action, and we are committed to reversing the decades of status quo neglect to care for our entire community and reverse these disturbing trends.

Here are a few of the ways we are taking action:

Our Full-Time Homelessness Team

Before we took office, CD13 had zero staffers dedicated full time to homelessness. Now, we have three full-time team members with decades of combined experience treating homelessness and coordinating with trusted service providers. With this structure, we can tackle this crisis with the sophistication, efficiency, and compassion that all residents of this city deserve — instead of wasting our tax dollars by pushing folks from block to block.

We have over 40 different organizations dealing with homeless services across our district. And after taking office, we found that some of these providers were repeating the same work, while other important work was not being handled at all. Now, our homelessness team is coordinating with every service provider in CD13, we’ve also mapped out every single encampment in the district and are constantly updating it. Because without coordination and a comprehensive look at the scope of the problem, we won’t be able to solve anything.

Filling Every Interim Housing Bed in the District

In our district, there are fewer than 400 interim housing/shelter beds for the over 3,000 people living on our streets. This is nowhere near enough, and to make matters worse, we had over 60 empty beds on a given night when we took office. That means that nearly 15% of the beds in our district available for unhoused people were going completely unused on an average night, and at one of our shelter locations, the vacancy rate was 50%.

Now, thanks to the work of our homelessness team along with community partners, the interim housing/shelter bed capacity is at 100%, with dozens of more folks in the queue ready for a place to stay as soon as a bed opens up.

It’s impossible to overstate how important it is that this coordination is finally happening.

Inside Safe

Inside Safe is LA's new proactive strategy to bring people inside from tents and encampments for good. With this new strategy, we are leading with housing and focused on long-term solutions that prevent encampments from returning, not just quick fixes that do nothing to solve the underlying problem.

We’ve now completed 3 different Inside Safe operations in our district, which have brought over 150 individuals indoors for good.

By leading with services and taking a care-centered approach, we were able to achieve a 99% acceptance rate of housing services. We also did this without any police enforcement, since our Homelessness Team and experienced service providers were able to build trust and develop relationships with unhoused residents in the area.

Homeless Support Days

This summer, we began holding Homeless Support Days in the district to help our unhoused neighbors get the resources and help that they need. We help people with services like: 

  • Federal benefits to get folks signed up for basic income. 
  • Housing referrals.
  • Enrollment in programs like CalFresh and Medi-Cal so people can get healthcare and food.
  • Bicycle maintenance and wheelchair repairs to help residents get around.
  • Cell phones for folks to communicate with family or loved ones, and make it easier to get a job.

The events have been an amazing success – in just 3 hours we can help more than 50 people access all of these critical services that, if accessed individually, would take months.

What's Next?

This problem is enormous, and we aren’t going to solve it unless the entire community pitches in. That’s why in the coming weeks, we’ll be sending out more information about:

  • Getting involved with local organizations and nonprofits 
  • How to connect unhoused neighbors to resources 
  • Where to donate things like clothing/toiletries 
  • Volunteering with our office
  • And more!

Sometimes, solving the homelessness crisis can seem impossible, but that’s only because for decades our city has been neglecting real solutions in favor of band-aids and sweeping people from block to block. We can change things, but it has to start with the community.

Three More Quick Hits!

1. La Brea Bus Lanes are Officially Open!

Yesterday, we joined the official ceremony to open the new La Brea bus lanes from Sunset Blvd. all the way to Olympic Blvd.

Nearly 10,000 riders will benefit from this new bus lane every single day, allowing workers to spend less time in transit and more time with their families. Trips are also 15% faster, which means it can be faster for new riders to use the bus instead of their cars.

Transit and bus service continues to be under-prioritized, and that’s why we’re pushing for more bus lanes across CD13 to give our residents more options for how to get around.

2. Supporting Striking Fast Food Workers at City Hall

On Thursday, we joined striking fast food workers at City Hall to uplift their fight for respect and fair wages.

All workers deserve livable wages, safe working conditions, fair schedules, a workplace free of harassment, and the ability to join a union if they choose to.

3. Wage Theft Motions Pass Through Committee!

Wage theft steals $1.4 billion from LA workers every year. Soon, that’s going to change. Our motions to combat greedy corporations in our city passed through committee this week, on its way to full council!

This fight is just getting started, and we’ll keep you posted as things move forward.