The West Hollywood City Council received an update regarding the City’s Homeless Initiative as part of its regular meeting agenda on Monday, July 18, 2022. The update provided details about the Homeless Initiative’s progress towards the goals of the Five-Year Plan to Address Homelessness in Our Community, as well as notable activities in the regional homeless service system, the delivery of local homeless services, and program outcomes from City-funded non-profit agencies.
The City’s Human Services and Rent Stabilization Department’s Strategic Initiatives Division oversees the West Hollywood Homeless Initiative in coordination with the City’s Social Services Division. The Homeless Initiative is a multi-disciplinary, multi-agency collaborative response, which includes multiple City Departments, City-funded social service agencies, the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, and Los Angeles County agencies.
The 2022 West Hollywood Homeless Initiative progress report is available at www.weho.org/homeless.
Notable Homeless Initiative updates and highlights include:
- Beginning the process of developing a bridge housing, and supportive housing facility for people experiencing homelessness in West Hollywood. In May 2022, the State of California Homekey Program awarded the City a conditional grant award in the amount of $6,007,661 to support capital and operating costs to convert the Holloway Motel into an interim housing program that will be operated by Ascencia. Following this, on June 6, 2022, the City Council approved the purchase of the Holloway Motel with the intent to use the property for this purpose for the next 15 years. An interim housing location within the City of West Hollywood will provide people experiencing homelessness a place to stay temporarily while receiving supportive services on their path to permanent housing. There will be significant community and stakeholder engagement throughout the process to create this resource in West Hollywood;
- Participating in Mayors for a Guaranteed Income and developing the City’s first guaranteed income pilot, which will also serve as the nation’s first pilot of this kind focused on older adults. The pilot will provide unconditional cash payments of a $1,000 a month to 25 adults ages 50+ for 18 months. The pilot is part of the City’s efforts to help prevent homelessness, assist community members to age in place, and reduce the stressors of financial instability;
- Developing the West Hollywood Care Team, a new program envisioned to be a first responder service that supports community members — housed and unhoused — in behavioral health crisis stemming from a mental health condition, substance use, or other factor/s. The program is intended to reduce reliance on law enforcement by positioning this service as the first responder to people in a behavioral health crisis; and
- Assessing the social service needs of community members of color to strengthen City-funded outreach programs. Findings from the study were presented to City Council on May 2, 2022 and the Social Services Division incorporated the recommendations into the FY 22-25 Social Services Request For Proposals.
Since October 2016, through West Hollywood’s focused efforts, the City of West Hollywood and its partners have successfully supported more than 208 youth and adults in establishing permanent housing and ending their experience of homelessness; notably, 125 of these housing placements have occurred since October 2019, which marked the beginning of the City of West Hollywood’s FY19-22 Social Service Grants contract cycle.
The City of West Hollywood looks to a range of data to understand trends in the number of community members experiencing homelessness in West Hollywood relative to the number of people getting housed. For example, in January 2020, the Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count tallied 66,436 people experiencing homelessness across the region and 112 people in City of West Hollywood. Through the City’s contract with Ascencia, the outreach team provides the City with monthly data on the number of unsheltered community members in city public spaces and reports from the last year show a monthly average count of 40 people experiencing homelessness. The crisis-level number of people continuing to experience homelessness across the region is a barrier to detecting the impact of year-over-year housing placements by West Hollywood’s contracted partners. Even with West Hollywood’s work supporting people to exit homelessness, the regional flow into homelessness remains a stronger pressure on the homeless system.
The City of West Hollywood is also an “Everyone In” city. Everyone Inis a community movement with United Way of Greater Los Angeles to end the homelessness and housing crisis by building public and political will to create solutions, and affordable and supportive housing in every part of Los Angeles County. Upcoming Everyone In events are listed on the Everyone In website athttps://everyoneinla.org/events/.
The West Hollywood Homeless Initiative’s agency partners continued to deliver critical services during the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic:
Throughout the past two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Homeless Initiative has focused on promoting and safeguarding the health of vulnerable community members and frontline staff. The following activities continued or resumed during year two of the pandemic:
- Prevented homelessness among vulnerable West Hollywood renterswith City Council-approved emergency funding for rental assistance and emergency meals. Two of the City’s contracted Social Services agency partners, the National Council of Jewish Women and the Alliance for Housing and Healing administered the City’s COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance programs. Since March 16, 2020, a total of $1,629,222 has been allocated to emergency rental assistance. A total of 70,000 emergency meals and packaged groceries have been provided to vulnerable residents with the help of MV Transportation, American GTS, and Ambiance delivering meals prepared by Project Angel Food and Jewish Family Services;
- Increased outreach and engagement at West Hollywood Park, following the park’s re-opening in February 2022. In addition, with the full re-opening of West Hollywood Library, outreach teams reinstated in-person drop-in homeless services as of May 2022. The drop-in program, which began in October 2016, is a strategic collaboration between the City of West Hollywood, LA County Library, and City of West Hollywood’s contracted social services organizations, which include APLA Health, Ascencia, the Los Angeles LGBT Center, Step Up on Second, and Tarzana Treatment Centers. Drop-in hours are scheduled Monday through Friday, allowing unhoused community members a safe and consistent location to access services and get connected to support;
- Continued facilitating local access to COVID-19 testing and vaccination through pop-up events focused on connecting community members experiencing homelessness with LA County Department of Public Health and Department of Health Services; and
- Ongoing public health promotion through distribution of emergency supplies to community members experiencing homelessness in need of hygiene products, masks, hand sanitizer, bottled water, sleeping bags, blankets, and ponchos.
Through the West Hollywood Homeless Initiative, in partnership with the community, and with funding support from LA County Measure H, in 2018 the City established the “Five Year Plan to Address Homelessness in Our Community.” The plan identifies seven goals — and key actions to reach these goals — based on feedback from the West Hollywood community and stakeholders:
- Goal #1: Provide support and resources to City staff and contractors in responding appropriately, safely, and effectively to persons who are experiencing homelessness in West Hollywood.
- Goal #2: Support businesses and residents in responding appropriately, safely, and effectively to persons who are experiencing homelessness in West Hollywood.
- Goal #3: Establish bridge housing and day center facilities in West Hollywood to serve people who are homeless in the City.
- Goal #4: Continue the City’s support for the Rapid Re-Housing program to prevent homelessness among West Hollywood residents.
- Goal #5: Increase the number of supportive housing, special needs housing, and other permanent housing options in West Hollywood for people who have experienced or are at risk of homelessness.
- Goal #6: Strengthen partnerships with other cities and with nonprofit organizations to support regional and individualized solutions to homelessness.
- Goal #7: Prevent homelessness among West Hollywood residents, especially seniors, individuals living with disabilities, and vulnerable families.
Making progress toward the goals of West Hollywood’s Five-Year Plan remains critically important in directing the local response to homelessness.
The West Hollywood Homeless Initiative seeks to effectively address homelessness. If you are concerned about a community member who is homeless, call the West Hollywood Homeless Initiative Concern Line at (323) 848-6590. If your concern requires time-sensitive assistance during nights or weekends, please call the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station at (310) 855-8850.