Blumenfield Announces Pilot Project to House Unsheltered Residents At Winnetka/101 Underpass

Focused effort underway to rehouse all the people living under 101 freeway

LOS ANGELES, CA- Bringing new resources to the effort to shelter people living in the Winnetka underpass beneath the 101 freeway, Councilmember Bob Blumenfeld today announced a new pilot project to house unsheltered residents at that encampment, in partnership with. the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA). During the pilot, LAHSA will identify service needs and housing/shelter resources for each of the estimated 24 people currently living at this location.  This new infusion of outreach and services stems from the ongoing litigation and conversations with federal Judge David O. Carter. Finding it unsafe and unhealthy to live near freeways, Judge Carter has been facilitating an agreement between the City and County of Los Angeles to create new shelter beds for people living within 500 feet of freeways throughout the region. 

“I’m encouraged to see LAHSA focus attention on what it will take to house the people living in the Winnetka underpass both to give them somewhere better to be and to clear the underpass for pedestrians,” said Blumenfield.  “After many visits and conversations with homeless folks living in these areas, I know that some need substance abuse treatment and others just need a helping hand to get back to a safe home, so this pilot should help get each person the right mix of assistance to move on with their lives quickly.”

The Winnetka underpass is one of several freeway locations that LAHSA has prioritized for rapid rehousing efforts. 

LAHSA is currently conducting a needs assessment for the people at Winnetka with a comprehensive and holistic analysis of what resources they need to be housed. This includes wrapping services around people and eliminating barriers that often get in the way of people obtaining resources (e.g. documentation requirements, identification, health care eligibility and treatment needs). 

In the weeks following the assessment, outreach teams and housing navigators will connect encampment residents to the best and most immediate housing pathway solution. 

“Through this pilot program, we’re looking to bring insights gained through our emergency response programs to provide permanent housing to unsheltered Angelenos. We know that too often, administrative or resource constraints get in the way of people obtaining the support they need. Testing this approach will allow us to target the right resources and break down barriers so these folks get the support they need,” said LAHSA Executive Director Heidi Marston. “We’re grateful to partner with leaders like Councilmember Blumenfield to show how effectively we can get people off the street and on a path to permanent housing when we have the resources we need.”  

This pilot project is just one of the strategies Blumenfield is pursuing to meet the urgent needs for housing and the requirement to create more than 6,000 new beds for people experiencing homelessness near freeways. Safe Parking, Bridge Housing, pallet shelter ‘cabin communities’ and other interim housing strategies are all being explored in an effort to make beds available for the district’s unsheltered population and allow enforcement of anti-camping laws to return sidewalks to a cleaner more accessible state. 

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