This fall, residents of Los Angeles will vote on Proposition H, a $1.2-billion bond measure to fund the development of new housing for the homeless. The Homelessness Reduction and Prevention, Housing, and Facilities Bond brings high-level exposure to an issue that continues to plague the city, which has one of the largest homelessness rates nationwide.
But is the bond enough?
While the measure will provide housing, critics have concerns about who will foot the bill, and that it does not provide funding for supportive services. Issues such as domestic violence, mental health, and substance abuse all must be continually addressed to treat the root causes of homelessness. Still, others contend that it’s a one-two punch – if you provide housing first, the services can come later.
Meanwhile, on the streets
Support is still needed for organizations that are – and have been – providing both housing and services for the homeless, politics aside.
At the Los Angeles Mission, homeless individuals can find emergency services, including hot meals, overnight shelter, showers, clean clothing, and temporary baggage shelter. Then, to address the root causes of their homelessness, they can get access to primary healthcare, testing, education, and counseling.
The work of the Mission focuses on key areas: Recovery, rehabilitation, and restoration. People learn how to reconnect with their families and rebuild their confidence and skills. Through the Fresh Start program, they develop the tools they need to transition back to society:
- Financial planning
- Job seeking
- Career building
- Community involvement
Another component of the Mission’s work is fostering connections in the community. Through the Mission, people can find resources for financial aid, mentoring, and professional guidance on re-entering the workforce – all factors that have a long-term, sustainable effect on their lives and livelihoods.
Prop H may or may not go forward. But it does shed light on the state of homelessness in L.A. and how equal parts housing and services are needed to truly get people off the streets. Before and after November, Big Changes Advisers will continue to work toward both.