Los Angeles County has long been known as the homeless capital of the nation. On any given night, over 51,000 individuals experience homelessness, and every year we spend $875 million in public resources to manage homelessness, not solve it. Research shows that thoughtful reallocation of existing resources can drastically reduce homelessness. Targeting the highest service users and emphasizing a housing first approach can help us maximize resources and create a system equipped for ending homelessness in Los Angeles County.
The Business Leader’s Task Force on Homelessness is a joint initiative of United Way of Greater Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce. In Fall, 2010, the Task Force released Home For Good – a blue print for creating a cost-effective and efficient system that will end chronic and veteran homelessness in Los Angeles County by 2016. The plan is designed to end homelessness rather than simply manage it by focusing on permanent housing as the first, most critical step on the path to wellness. This proven model, which moves individuals into permanent housing with support services, saves money by drastically reducing individuals’ stay in shelter or on the streets.
Last year Home For Good helped place over 3,000 chronically homeless individuals and non-chronic Veterans into permanent housing.
Giving chronically homeless individuals access to permanent supportive housing allows overtaxed public resources such as emergency rooms, jails and other crisis services to function more efficiently. By simplifying and streamlining the manner in which homeless individuals are moved into housing, existing public resources can be reallocated to provide 12,500 units of permanent supportive housing for all chronically homeless individuals by 2016. This could avoid up to $280 million in costs each year to mainstream systems. And it will ultimately create a system designed to rapidly rehouse those in crises.
The Home For Good action plan consists of 4 Key Strategies:
Strategy #1: Know who’s homeless and what they need
Strategy #2: Create the housing and services to help people thrive
Strategy #3: Shift to a housing first system
Strategy #4: Get involved, involve others
Since its release in 2010, over 100 civic, business, community and faith leaders have signed on to help implement the Home For Good action plan. For more information go to homeforgoodla.org
We can end chronic and veteran homelessness by quickly moving people into housing and giving them the necessary services to stay there. This permanent supportive housing model has drastically reduced homelessness in cities like New York, Denver and Seattle. The UWGLA Homeless Cost Study shows that it is 43% more cost effective to provide chronically homeless individuals with supportive housing than to leave them on the streets, constantly cycling in and out of costly emergency rooms and jail. The data also shows that over 80% of people in permanent supportive housing stay off the streets for good.
There are over 9,000 homeless Veterans in Los Angeles County. Veterans frequently return from service to find they do not have the support network and resources to meet their most basic needs. When their resources are depleted, these veterans end up on the streets.
The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) and the U.S Interagency Council on Homelessness have committed to ending Veteran homelessness nationally in 5 years. As a result, there are tremendous national and local resources focused on swiftly housing this population and providing the support homeless veterans need to stay in housing. In line with these federal efforts, Home For Good is committed to ending Veteran homelessness in Los Angeles County by 2016, making sure all of our homeless service men and women have a place to call home.
HomeWalk is United Way of Greater Los Angeles’ annual 5K walk to end homelessness. Over the past five years, HomeWalk has mobilized almost 30,000 walkers, raised almost two million dollars and funded organizations that have moved 12,000 people into permanent housing. All proceeds go directly back to the community, supporting permanent solutions to end homelessness for chronically homeless people, veterans and families.
United Way of Greater Los Angeles is partnering with Community Solutions on the 100,000 Homes Campaign, a national effort to find and house 100,000 of the most vulnerable, chronically homeless people throughout the country. This inspiring and innovative project is mobilizing communities throughout the country to reach out to their homeless neighbors, many of whom have been living on the streets for decades, and find them homes. United Way will help mobilize hundreds of volunteers throughout LA County to support this effort, provide funding to organizations implementing this proven model, and advocate for policy change to invest critical resources for permanent supportive housing to make this vision reality. For more information on Community Solutions click here.
For more information about our Home For Good Plan, please contact Christine Marge, Director of Housing Stability, at 213-808-6527.
If you are in need of housing support, please call the countywide helpline 2-1-1 24 hours a day, seven days a week.