Addressing Unsheltered Homelessness

Over the past few years, L.A. County has invested unprecedented resources to create permanent solutions to homelessness. Yet, as those investments materialize, the number of people experiencing unsheltered homelessness continues to rise due to stagnant wages, an increasingly unaffordable housing market, etc. In addition, the pandemic has driven increases in unsheltered homelessness due to public health restrictions on congregate shelter and the economic fallout from the shutdowns. These dynamics create a number of significant challenges in the effort to end homelessness. First and foremost, the rise of unsheltered homelessness has resulted in a humanitarian crisis that demands immediate attention and resources for people who are currently living on our streets. We also recognize that maintaining widespread public support for long-term solutions depends on our ability to credibly impact this crisis on our streets.

Street Strategy

While the Street Strategy effort kicked off before the pandemic, the impact of COVID-19 only highlighted the urgency of our strategies to confront the humanitarian crisis on our streets. Home For Good interviewed over 150 stakeholders to develop ten evidence-based, expert-informed strategies and three competencies that would improve outcomes for the more than 48,000 unsheltered neighbors in L.A. County. 

The goal: Inspire innovation and new partnerships, expand services and resources for the crisis response system, and avoid outdated interventions that either criminalize or overlook people who are living on the streets.

By creating this strategy, we’ve been able to secure investments in Shelter Improvement, increase health care access to unsheltered populations, more funding for mental health services through Measure J, and are pushing for more immediate housing options like the acquisition and conversion of hotels/motels.

Credible strategies to address the crisis on our streets must center those experiencing unsheltered homelessness while also acknowledging the needs of the broader community. That’s why the HFG team created The Street Strategy Annex, which unpacks strategy #10 and provides concrete recommendations for managing encampments with more consistency and predictability.