L.A. County to expand one-stop approach to servicing homeless families

Los Angeles County supervisors voted Tuesday to expand a network of one-stop centers that coordinate social services for homeless families.

The supervisors agreed to allocate $10.3 million in local, state and federal money to create an integrated system of services for those families. Under the program, eight regional centers throughout the county will manage services for homeless families, rather than requiring them to travel to offices in downtown Los Angeles to get help.

The money will come from combining three existing programs to serve the homeless. County officials said the result will be a more streamlined and coordinated system.

The centers will help manage medical and mental health services, place families in emergency shelters and subsidized housing, and help parents find work and get follow-up services.

Last June, the county began using a similar approach in a pilot program, and officials say it is already proving to be more effective in getting families into housing and that it costs less than the old model.

Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority will oversee contracts with nonprofit organizations providing services.

A number of advocates for the homeless praised the new model, saying families will no longer have to "hopscotch" between services.

"Families are not being shuffled around," said Jessica Ivey, a housing coordinator with L.A. Family Housing. "They're not going from shelter to shelter or door to door to look for services. They're going to one spot and being connected through the" centers.

Supervisor Gloria Molina, who has made the issue a personal crusade, praised the new approach, saying it will help keep families off of skid row. 

"Skid row is no place for a child. Anyone who has driven through there knows it," she said. "The whole idea is to have a collaborative approach as to how to address the issues of children who are homeless."

At the request of Supervisors Zev Yaroslavsky and Michael D. Antonovich, county staff members will report back quarterly on the program and produce a report in six months analyzing the outcome. 


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