Authority begins transitioning process for homeless

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Wave Wire Services

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority has started transitioning homeless people from temporary shelter to long-term housing solutions through its COVID-19 Recovery Plan, officials said Sept. 22.

Through Project Roomkey, which has housed people in motel and hotel rooms, the city and county of Los Angeles secured over 4,000 rooms in 37 hotels, and the authority filled them with more than 6,000 people.

With Project Roomkey, we saw what is possible when our system focuses on a rehousing solution and is provided with the resources and political will to accomplish a goal,” said Heidi Marston, executive director of the authority. “But that was a temporary solution. With the COVID-19 Recovery Plan, we have dedicated, concentrated resources to move our most vulnerable homeless neighbors into long-term supportive housing.”

Based on current funding levels from the city and county for the COVID-19 Recovery Plan, Marston said the authority has funds to house at least 4,900 of the most vulnerable people experiencing homelessness, which the agency defines as people 65 and older or those who have underlying health conditions that make them vulnerable to serious illness or death from COVID-19.

Over the next six months, the homeless authority said it will transition clients from all 37 hotels into housing at a rate of 400 to 1,000 people per month. Under a one-year lease, the majority of the minimum 4,900 people will move in to “Recovery Housing,” which will consist of pre-existing and new units that will be subsidized and come with supportive services.

Once the one-year lease is up, participants with the highest service needs will be transferred to permanent supportive housing as units become available, and other clients will be transferred to a long-term subsidy program to keep them stably housed.

Marston said more than 88% of people who have entered the rehousing system have stayed housed, and in 2019, the rehousing system helped 22,769 people move into permanent housing.

The county has approved $43 million in coronavirus relief funds for the COVID-19 Recovery Plan, and the authority said it expects to receive another $80 million in county Emergency Solutions Grants and $15 million in Measure H funding.

The city released $30 million out of $97 million in emergency grants for the recovery plan, with the possibility of fully funding the program if it’s successful.

The COVID-19 Recovery Plan will be supported by Project Homekey, a statewide program to acquire hotel properties to house people experiencing homelessness.

The authority and its network of providers are also asking landlords to participate in the program by contacting PATH Lease Up at (323) 644-2200.