City Councilman Jose Huizar announced an expansion of homeless outreach services in downtown Los Angeles Friday with a five-member team looking to replicate a similar program that has seen success in Skid Row.
Experts In Mental Health, Medical Provider, Case Manager,
The new team is operated by the non-profit The People Concern and is funded by the county. It consists of experts in mental health and substance abuse, a case manager, a medical provider and a peer with lived experience.
Based On Program With Good Track Record
The program is based on the City-County-Community (C3) outreach program which began in Skid Row in January 2016 and will provide services throughout downtown. In the first half of this year, C3 has permanently housed 128 people directly from the streets of Skid Row, according to Huizar’s office.
Huizar announced the new program in the Fashion District where he also observed the team in action.
“In The Midst Of A Homeless Crisis”
“Like all of Los Angeles, downtown is in the midst of a homeless crisis and we have an incredible need — particularly for those suffering from mental illnesses — for increased services to get people real-time assistance,” Huizar said.
Huizar also called for a new approach in assisting the estimated one- third of the city’s homeless population who suffer from mental illnesses.
“Who Do We Call When Someone Is Having A Mental Health Crisis?”
“The time has come for a seismic shift in how we address and approach those dealing with mental illness in the city and county, particularly in downtown Los Angeles,” Huizar said. “We need to answer one fundamental question: Who do we call when someone is having a mental health crisis in the middle of the street but is not committing a crime nor is a danger to anyone than perhaps themselves? Right now, police are often the first point of contact and they shouldn’t be.”
Measure H Passage Made It Possible
The downtown team is one of the first being deployed as part of a larger expansion of homeless outreach throughout the county made possible through the passage of Measure H’s quarter cent sales tax increase in March.
According to the recent Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count, Skid Row contains the highest concentration of homeless people in the country with 4,485. However, the rest of downtown has nearly 1,400 homeless also in need of services, Huizar’s office said.