The Proposal to Expand Housing First

Letters to the Editor: Is Rick Caruso’s ‘short-term’ homelessness plan what L.A. needs? Monday Aug 29, 2014 at 12:01 AMAug 29, 2014 at 5:16 PM In the past two weeks, I have been writing…

The Proposal to Expand Housing First

Letters to the Editor: Is Rick Caruso’s ‘short-term’ homelessness plan what L.A. needs?

Monday

Aug 29, 2014 at 12:01 AMAug 29, 2014 at 5:16 PM

In the past two weeks, I have been writing to the editor of the Register about the proposal by then-Assemblyman Rick Caruso (D-Artesia) to “expand” the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing (DHSPH). The letter has generated a great deal of comment, mostly negative.

The facts of this proposal are simple: The majority of homeless people in Los Angeles, especially in the south side, are chronically homeless; most of these people are long-term residents who cannot afford housing; and the city’s long-term shelters are woefully inadequate. The proposed solution is to find a new way of providing supportive housing, and the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing is not capable of this. At this point, it appears to the writer that the proposal is “short-term” because it will solve the problem of short-term homelessness today, but it is not likely to solve the problem of homelessness in the long term.

In addition, the proposal is costly, at $3 million per year, which is not affordable by any standard.

The main points of the proposal are summarized in the following paragraphs:

The proposal is to begin looking at “expansion” of Housing First in the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing from a “short-term” to a “long-term” framework through the Department’s new “Outreach and Capacity Building Core Team Coordinated by the Executive Director” (OCCT) and the creation of a DHSPH-specific “Outreach and Capacity Building Core Team” (OCCT) to work with this new “expansion” of Housing First.

The proposed “Outreach and Capacity Building Core Team” be charged with the responsibility of expanding the Department’s housing units

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