Last week, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors declared a shelter crisis in unincorporated areas of the county—an area that totals just over 1 million people. In these communities, 5,000 people are currently experiencing homelessness, 86% of whom do not have a safe place to sleep each night. This declaration makes the County eligible to receive approximately $80 million in one-time funding to increase the supply of temporary housing options for people, which are critically needed.

This emergency aid from the State will go towards programs that provide immediate emergency assistance, including shelters, housing vouchers, and public restrooms in certain areas. According to Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, some of the funding could be allotted towards temporary bridge housing and used to improve the County’s coordinated entry system database which United Way piloted in 2013 and subsequently turned over to the County to manage.

53,000 of all of L.A. County’s neighbors are experiencing homelessness and 39,000 people are living outside. United Way of Greater Los Angeles is working daily with local partners and the County to help people move into stable homes, and we have helped over 30,000 people secure housing in the last two years. This declaration by the County is a reminder that we are building a system to end homelessness. There is no single solution—we need outreach and engagement, short term housing options, and—most importantly—enough affordable and supportive housing for everyone who needs it. That’s what United Way is working on, every day.