Also to expand outreach services
The county of Los Angeles has announced that a new $60 million state grant will fund housing projects and expand services to more than half of the unhoused population in Skid Row over the next three years. The grant comes just in time as the latest Homeless Count showed a 9% increase in homelessness in LA County during 2022.
The state’s Encampment Resolution Fund grants from the California Interagency Council on Homelessness will supplement and jumpstart elements of the county’s $280 million Skid Row Action Plan–an initiative for transitioning Skid Row in to a “safe and healthy community.”
The county is contributing $125 million toward the action plan and the city of Los Angeles is adding $40 million. An estimated $55 million in vouchers will be leveraged from local public housing authorities and the Los Angeles Housing Services Authority will contribute an additional $60 million.
“This is the first step towards implementing the Skid Row Action Plan,” said County Supervisor Hilda Solis, who represents the district that encompasses Skid Row. “As the heart of the overdose crisis, Skid Row residents deserve the dignity of housing, where they can receive the care they need.”
DHS Housing for Health developed the Skid Row Action Plan in 2022, aimed at providing more interim and permanent housing, behavioral health, substance use treatment and other services.
Skid Row, spanning only four-square miles, has 4,400 people experiencing homelessness, 2,695 of them unsheltered, according to the 2022 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count–the densest concentration of people experiencing homelessness in the county.
“These results are disappointing,” said Supervisor Janice Hahn regarding the latest homeless county numbers. “It is frustrating to have more people fall into homelessness even as we are investing hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars and resources into efforts to bring people inside. I hold out hope that the new partnership between the County and City of Los Angeles will make a difference and help us more effectively address this crisis.”
Under the plan, the county and its partners will provide hundreds of new interim housing beds at multiple hotels and motels in and near Skid Row, as well as other locations. About 350 of those interim housing beds will include enriched services for people with the “most complex and behavioral health needs.”
According to county officials, the interim housing beds are projected to serve about 2,500 people over the course of three years. An estimated 2,000 people are slated for placements into permanent housing, and outreach efforts are expected to help about 3,000 people.
“Yet again, we are seeing the real, tangible results of locking arms at every level of government,” Mayor Karen Bass said in a statement. “The county has been there with us every step of the way as we implement Inside Safe and take steps to continue to bring Angelenos inside in other ways.”
County officials called the needs of the homeless population in Skid Row as “dire,” with an estimated 1,900 people experiencing chronic homelessness.
About 36% of people experiencing homelessness in Skid Row reported a serious mental illness, 33% reported substance use disorder, 35% reported physical disability and 13% reported a developmental disability.
Another 38% of people reported having experienced domestic violence or intimate partner violence, according to county officials.
Fesia Davenport, CEO of L.A. County, expressed that the ERF grant is “welcome news” for the county.
“We will make full use of our expedited authority under the county’s local emergency to use these funds to expand programs and supportive services, and to alleviate the heavy toll of human misery in the Skid Row area,” Davenport said in a statement.