Los Angeles moves to 'crack the code' on homelessness

Tue, 2016-07-26 13:30 -- Compassionate C...

With nearly 47,000 people living on the streets and in shelters in the city and county of Los Angeles, Councilmember Mike Bonin is no doubt right when he calls solving homelessness and the city's affordable housing crisis "a Herculean task." But as you'll read below, LA is working on a number of fronts to do just that – including participation in the Google Government Innovation Lab – re-branded for LA's purposes as the Angels Lab. Let's hope they come up with innovative solutions other cities can borrow. Philip Bane


One outcome the city's new Senior Technology Advisor Jeanne Holm anticipates from the Angels Lab, she tells GovTech.com, is a pioneering predictive analytics platform that can help identify early signs of homelessness so social services can step in before people are on the streets.

“We're hoping to be able to crack some of the code," Holm said in the article. "We’ll ask what are the indicators three months, six months, nine months ahead, before a person or family falls into homelessness."

Holm, who calls homelessness one of the most intractable issues facing Los Angeles, points to the $138 million city leaders have pledged this year to homeless programs, services and housing. That's four times what the city budgeted last year for homeless services, according to the Los Angeles Times, which in an editorial described Mayor Eric Garcetti's proposed funding stream as "wishful thinking."

Developing city-owned properties
One way the city is doing that is by inviting proposals from affordable housing developers to develop city-owned properties for homeless residents. The sites, according to the city, represent at least $47 million of the $138 million.

"Solving homelessness and addressing our affordable housing crisis is a Herculean task, and everyone needs to have skin in the game," Councilmember Bonin said of the Request for Qualifications and Proposals. "We need to look at every available piece of city-owned land and determine if we can use it for housing, or for revenue to build housing. I'm glad we're starting this process by looking at vacant and under-used properties in my district."

A $1.2 billion ask in November
Meanwhile on Nov. 8, Los Angeles voters will be asked to okay a general obligation bond issue that would raise $1.2 billion in revenue for housing.

Another funding scheme recently hatched by Los Angeles County supervisors would have taxed marijuana businesses to help pay for housing and health services for the homeless, but it now appears they are having second thoughts about putting it on the ballot.

More on this topic…
Portland, Oregon: Innovative Homeless Service Model at Bud Clark Commons

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This article is from the Council's Compassionate Cities initiative which highlights how city leaders and other stakeholders can leverage smart technologies to end suffering in their communities and give all citizens a route out of poverty. Click the Compassionate Cities box on our registration page to receive our weekly newsletter.

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