Strategy on the Streets: Improving Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority’s Outreach Program
Homelessness by the Numbers
- According to the 2019 Homeless Count results, homelessness is up 12% in L.A. County and 16% citywide.
- L.A. reported 42,500 unsheltered people — the highest number in the U.S.
- There are only 15,600 shelter beds, but only 80% are filled on a given night.
- One in four homeless individuals suffer from serious mental illness and one in seven have a substance abuse disorder.
- African Americans (19,000) and Latinos (20,504) represent 70% of the homeless population.
- In 2018, 918 homeless people died on the streets — a 76% increase from 2014.
The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) — a City-County joint powers authority — is the lead agency for homelessness in the region.
LAHSA is governed by a 10-member commission appointed by both the City of Los Angeles (Mayor and City Council) and County of Los Angeles (Board of Supervisors), and operates with a $300 million annual budget comprised of federal, State, County and City funds. For the 2019-2020 fiscal year, the City of Los Angeles allocated $35 million to LAHSA.
- Implementing a coordinated entry system to connect homeless people to housing and services.
- Administering data collection and performance measurement.
- Coordinating and performing street outreach to connect people to organizations.
LAHSA did not achieve five of its City outreach goals in FY 2018-2019.
- 6,634 people contacted (Goal: 6,500)
- 5,710 direct services provided (86% — better than 85% goal)
- 4,199 coordinated entry system assessments (63% — better than 50% goal)
- 20% of people engaged referred to bridge housing (Actual: 598 people, 14% success)
- 10% of people engaged moved to permanent supportive housing (Actual: 167 people, 4% success)
- 25% of people engaged with substance abuse problems referred to treatment (Actual: 39 people, 6% success)
- 25% of people engaged with mental health conditions connected to services (Actual: 56 people, 4% success)
- 95% of data quality in Homeless Management Information System (Not represented in chart; no outcomes reported)
To address LAHSA’s achievement gaps, Controller Ron Galperin offers the following recommendations:
- Create “HomeSTAT,” a statistically-driven performance management system that would fundamentally reshape LAHSA’s outreach program by using real-time data on homelessness to evaluate performance and make informed decisions about resource allocation.
- Work with City and County partners to define a unified set of clear and consistent goals, specific metrics and accurate reporting on outreach activities throughout the greater L.A. area.
- Focus on a proactive outreach strategy to reach a greater number of homeless people for the first time.
- Enhance LAHSA transparency and accountability by geo-based mapping of outreach activities.
Read the full report and recommendations below.
August 28, 2019
Honorable Eric Garcetti, Mayor
Honorable Michael Feuer, City Attorney
Honorable Members of the Los Angeles City Council
Re: Strategy on the Streets: Improving Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority’s Outreach Program
There is no issue more pressing and no challenge more daunting than homelessness in Los Angeles today. Homelessness climbed 16 percent over last year in the City of Los Angeles and the greater area reported the highest number of unsheltered people in the United States. While those sleeping on our streets suffer most acutely, the crisis touches all Angelenos and comes at a great cost. This year’s City budget allocated nearly a half-billion dollars to house and serve the most vulnerable in our communities.
The entity tasked with connecting the homeless to housing and services in the region is the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), a joint powers authority of the City and County of Los Angeles. Operating with a $300 million annual budget provided by federal, State, County and City funds, one of LAHSA’s core functions is street outreach to the homeless population, ensuring they receive resources, shelter and eventually permanent housing. The City and County have spent more than $54 million funding outreach efforts over the past two years, with the City paying $10.3 million to LAHSA out of its general fund.
Perhaps no challenge in Los Angeles today is more troublesome and more critical than the magnitude of the homeless crisis. The 2019 point-in-time count estimated that the number of people experiencing homelessness grew to 56,000 in the Los Angeles Continuum of Care (CoC) of which 42,500 people were considered unsheltered at the time of the count. This represented the largest number of unsheltered people in any of the nation’s major CoCs and the City of Los Angeles (City), itself, was home to most of the unsheltered cases. Overall, the City experienced a 16% rise from the prior year’s count to 36,000 individuals.
The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) is a joint powers authority of the City and County of Los Angeles; and is governed by a 10-member commission that is appointed by the City Council/Mayor and County Board of Supervisors. LAHSA, today, manages an approximate annual budget of $300 million in federal, State, County, and City funds for programs that provide shelter, permanent housing, and services to people experiencing homelessness.