Lack of Aid for Homeless Criticized

Los Angeles County is providing housing assistance to a "disproportionately small number of homeless cases" compared to other counties in California, the county grand jury reported Monday.

Jurors said the county may not be taking full advantage of a year-old state program under which homeless families can receive extra money to defray the move-in costs for rental housing.

"Since these costs can run as high as $1,000 for a one-bedroom apartment, it has often been difficult for (welfare) recipients to save such a comparatively large amount of money out of their grants," the grand jury said in a 71-page report to the Board of Supervisors. For instance, a mother with two children in the federal aid to families with dependent children program receives $663 a month.

In October, 1988, Los Angeles County's ratio for homeless assistance was 2.6 recipients per 1,000 AFDC cases, compared to 9.1 for all other counties in California, the jury added.

The grand jury said the county should better publicize the program for homeless families who cannot afford the high cost of housing in Los Angeles.

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