Every night, 43,000 people in LA County have no place to sleep according to a new census released Wednesday by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority. Yet while that number is down 38 percent since 2007, it is still the worst in the nation.
On Wednesday, the same day that those new census numbers were announced, a group of homeless advocates, city leaders, law enforcement and clergy got together at Our Lady of Angeles Cathedral and, led by Any Bales of the Union Rescue Mission announced a ten point plan to one day eliminate homelessness in LA.
Here’s what Bales has in mind.
With your help, we are launching an initiative to reduce the population of people on the streets of Skid Row by 90% in 3 years, cut the number of people who are homeless in LA County by 50% in 7 years, and in 10 years end Los Angeles’ reign as the Homeless Capitol of the United States. We are calling this “You Are the Mission” because it’s a challenge for all of us. You are the Mission to end homelessness in Los Angeles!
Here are the one-line broad strokes. (The full ten points are here, together with action plans.)
1. Heart Change. We need to change the way we talk and think about people who are homeless.
2. We need to not make excuses for inaction based on myths.
3. No one should be evicted to the streets.
4. Solutions to homelessness should be regionalized.
5. Connect families with a mentoring team.
6. Adopt best practices in community policing.
7. Advocate for year-round shelters.
8. Support services for chronically homeless individuals.
9. Understand significant barriers that must be overcome.
10. Help with employment-related opportunities.
Interestingly, the expanded version of item six on the 10-point list is about policing and is generally quite complementary of the LAPD’s efforts on Skid row.