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Los Angeles public housing project. (Photo: publichousing.com)

Los Angeles Creates ‘Housing Central Command’ to Get More Homeless Off the Streets

Program is to be based on HUD program to house those displaced after natural disasters

By Evan Symon, February 20, 2020 2:16 am

The city of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) began a new strategy on Tuesday to house homeless people more quickly.

LAHSA will create a ‘Housing Central Command’ (HCC), a new program that will monitor how much permanent supportive housing is available for the city’s homeless, how many vacant units there are, and what landlords are doing to get them filled. According to LAHSA, city, county, and federal agencies will be working together to get homeless people off the streets with more speed than with older programs.

The new HCC is modeled on the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) natural disaster programs, particularly those that house residents quickly after hurricanes. While some state assistance such as the Governor Gavin Newsom’s decision to send trailers for homeless families in Los Angeles is also based on federal programs, it has been noted that it is closer to temporary solutions of FEMA rather than longer-term HUD solutions.

Under the old homeless placement system in Los Angeles, people waited for as long as ten months for some type of housing. The HCC program is expected to house people much quicker due to the increased focus on seeing what units become available as quick as possible and the elimination of red tape surrounding the housing process between different agencies and organizations.

“Nobody was holding the full picture of resources,” said LAHSA interim executive director Heidi Marston on Tuesday of the old system. “Our systems weren’t talking to each other.”

The $30 million dollar program, part of a 2017 HUD grant to Los Angeles, has already brought forward 3,000 additional units that had been not been known before December of 2019.

President Donald Trump. (Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

The announcement came on the same day as Donald Trump’s visit to Los Angeles. A vocal critic of the homeless crisis in Los Angeles and California, Trump reaffirmed during a 2028 Los Angeles Olympics meeting on Tuesday that the federal government would intervene and take over.

“If they can’t do it themselves, we’re going to do it,” announced Trump during the meeting. “The federal government is going to take it over, we’re going to do it.”

While Trump did not respond to the new Los Angeles program, homeless advocates, city officials, and Mayor Eric Garcetti praised the new HCC program.

“You know, LA is having a lot happen in 2020,” said homeless advocate Shawna Collins. “The big one is the Olympics in eight years. We need to show the world that LA is a world class city and we can’t do that with homeless people living on the streets. Not only is it humane and gives people another chance, but it makes the city itself look good by being cleaner and for making it happen by doing the right thing.”

“People give LA a lot of guff. Maybe we can show them by proving we can change things by doing good and helping shelter and protect the most vulnerable.”

The HCC is currently beginning to house some of the 60,000 homeless in Los Angeles County, 36,000 of which currently live in Los Angeles.

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