In late 2009, United Way of Greater Los Angeles and the LA Area Chamber of Commerce formed the Business Leaders Task Force on Homelessness. Our region needed the business community to play a leadership role in ending homelessness, as this has made a major difference in ending homelessness in communities throughout the country. After a year of education on the issue and its solutions, the Task Force decided L.A. needed a comprehensive plan of action if we were ever going to end homelessness in our community. In November 2010, the Task Force created and launched a five-year plan called Home For Good which lays out the blueprint to end chronic and veteran homelessness by 2016.
Home For Good is unique in many ways. It calls for the whole community to be involved and lays out a role for every sector and community member in the solutions. The plan also demonstrates we already have the resources in our system to solve this problem – we're not counting on any new funds to make this work. Our incredible group of Task Force members – 22 business leaders from across the region - has committed to lead this effort for the next five years, and by working together, our goals will become a reality.
Why Focus on Chronic and Veteran Homelessness
Not only is homelessness an affront to human dignity, it is also needlessly costly. While chronically homeless individuals represent only about 25% of the homeless population, they utilize over 75% of homelessness resources. Studies show, however, that it's 40% less expensive to house chronically homeless individuals in permanent supportive housing--apartments with on-site supportive services--than to leave them on the street. By housing chronically homeless individuals first, we can free resources and develop a more efficient homeless system.
Home For Good also focuses on veteran homelessness. Increasingly veterans return from service to find they don't have the support network and resources to meet their most basic needs. When their resources are depleted, these veterans end up on our streets. The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs has made a commitment to end veteran homeless nationally in 5 years, and as a result, there are tremendous national and local resources focused on quickly housing this population. We are ready to now focus our local efforts and join this national movement to end veteran homelessness.
The Task Force has worked with multiple City, County, non-profit, philanthropic, and faith leaders to create and implement Home For Good. We have an incredible group of 68 cross-sector leaders signed on from throughout the county, and the list continues to grow. You can see a complete list here. By signing on, organizations have promised to work collaboratively and hold each other responsible for making positive changes in Los Angeles County. Introducing change is never easy, especially when shifting a multi-million dollar system with countless stakeholders, but we believe our community has the leadership, the will, and the commitment to make it happen.
You can sign on as an organization or individual to show your support of the plan. Visit our get involved page today and join the movement – we can't do it without you!
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