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Homelessness a ‘civic crisis’


The Board of Supervisors voted unanimously this week to ask the state Legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown to declare homelessness a statewide humanitarian crisis.

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas recommended sending a letter to lawmakers.

“A pervasive and deepening homelessness crisis … currently endangers the health and safety of tens of thousands of residents, including veterans, women, children, LGBT youth, persons with disabilities and seniors,” Ridley-Thomas said.

The crisis “threatens the economic stability of the region” by burdening emergency medical and social services, he said.

“We have 47,000 reasons to act, including more than 6,000 parents and their children,” Ridley-Thomas added, citing numbers from a recent homeless count by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority.

“If an earthquake or flood suddenly left tens of thousands of individuals homeless, the county and state would not hesitate to act swiftly and decisively,” Ridley-Thomas said. “The cause may be different, the impact is the same.”

The board’s letter will ask that the state allow access to $500 million from the Special Fund for Economic Uncertainties for statewide rapid re-housing and to commit to identify more sources of funding. It will also call for the state to deploy personnel to set up command posts and triage at homeless hot spots.