Blumenfield successfully gets LAHSA to commit to date and to expand pilot effort to include Corbin Underpass as well as Winnetka
LOS ANGELES, CA- Today Councilmember Bob Blumenfield announced that the new Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) pilot program currently underway aiming to geographically target resources and housing opportunities will include an additional West Valley freeway underpass. Also, November 16 has been set as the date to move all people experiencing homelessness (PEH) at these two underpasses into newly available rapid re-housing.
“I am thrilled that LAHSA has expanded the program to include the Corbin underpass as it is inextricably linked to the Winnetka underpass. — LAHSA has identified 33 people who live at these two encampments and many of them move back and forth between them,” stated Blumenfield. “The goal is to house folks and then, pursuant to Judge Carter’s determination that it is unsafe to live under the freeways, make sure that these underpasses remain off-limits to future encampments.”
The details about what the posted signage will look like and how the City will insure that the area remains off limits is still being worked through with the City Attorney and others, but other cities that have settled cases in Judge Carter’s Court on this topic provide a possible roadmap. Blumenfield’s program will be one of the first, if not the first, to house everyone in an underpass/geographic area and then keep that area off-limits to camping.
LAHSA is continuing to conduct needs assessments for the people at these locations with a comprehensive and holistic analysis of what resources they need to be housed. This includes wrap around services for 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). Following the assessment, outreach teams and housing navigators have been connecting encampment residents to the best and most immediate housing pathway solution.
Blumenfield stated, “My goal is to offer housing or a bed to all 606 people that are unsheltered in my district. Ultimately, the settlement of the lawsuit in Judge Carter’s Court will likely enable the City, on a district specific basis, to prohibit urban camping in that district once shelter is available for a certain percentage of the unsheltered people in that district. I am moving forward on shelter and housing options as fast as possible.”
In addition to the Bridge Housing site in Canoga Park that is set to open by the end of the year which will hold 80 people, and building a ‘cabin community’ behind his District Office that will contain 50 tiny homes, other ongoing projects Blumenfield has been working on include:
- Purchasing two Project Room Key sites that will convert hotel rooms into more housing (approximately 125 room);
- With Measure HHH, approved a new permanent supportive housing project which will serve 60 more unhoused people in the West Valley;
- Continued housing funding and commitment to the Providence-Cedar Sinai and Tarzana Treatment Center program Blumenfield helped initiate. This program features 3 homes that offer temporary shelter and treatment for drug addicted and/or mental ill homeless who are referred directly from their Emergency Room;
- Funding 30 additional beds for homeless domestic violence victims in partnership with Haven Hills;
- Safe Parking LA program continues to operate next to the District Office and several additional sites have been identified. Staff is continuing to engage with local property/parking lot owners to help grow the program for vehicle dwellers in the West Valley;
- Two other Cabin Communities are in development — one in Tarzana off the Orange line which will likely get funding and possibly one in Canoga Park on private property which may get funding in the future.
All of this and more is part of Blumenfield’s commitment to make beds available for the district’s unsheltered population and, if needed, allow enforcement of anti-camping laws to return sidewalks to a cleaner, more accessible state.