Los Angeles homeless service officials said Friday that they were on the path to abolishing homelessness.
Speaking at a 20th anniversary event for the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, officials said the coordinated entry system, which matches the most vulnerable people in the streets to housing, could be a game changer. The county's family solution centers, which offer one-stop help to homeless parents and children, also appear promising.
Both programs were adopted in the last 1 1/2 years to eliminate red tape that had some homeless people giving up on finding housing.
The homeless authority, a city-county agency started in 1994, oversees $70 million in state, local and national funding for housing and other services.
At Friday's event, several speakers assailed a federal homeless funding formula, which they said penalizes Los Angeles by factoring in the age of the housing stock.
Under the formula, Philadelphia gets $11,000 per homeless person, while Los Angeles gets $1,500, homeless authority Commissioner Kerry Morrison said.
"It's ludicrous we are so desperately in need of resources," said Peter Lynn, a former Los Angeles city housing official who took over as the homeless authority's executive director Dec. 1.
Lynn said healthcare funding from the Affordable Care Act could be a big boost for homeless people, many of whom have physical and mental health disabilities.
Commission Vice-Chairman Mike Neely, who was homeless in downtown Los Angeles in the 1980s, recounted some of the failed schemes to end homelessness of the past, including a plan to relocate everyone living in downtown streets in the Arts District.
"People didn't seem to think that was a great idea," said Neely, a civic leader and past director of the Homeless Outreach Program. He retired in 2004.