Bringing Homeless, Previously Homeless into Policymaking?

Bonin proposes commission composed entirely of people who are or have been homeless

By Sam Catanzaro

A week after a scathing report was released showing the agency tasked with tackling homelessness in Los Angeles County failed to meet many of its goals, an LA City Councilmember is suggesting bringing homeless or previously homeless individuals into the policymaking process to improve results.

Councilmember Mike Bonin, who represents much of the Westside, has proposed the creation of a new advisory commission, composed entirely of people who are or have been homeless in Los Angeles. Bonin’s 11th District includes Venice where several encampments make the homelessness crisis especially evident, and also Pacific Palisades.

The commission proposed by Bonin, modeled after city advisory commissions on disability issues, children’s Native American issues and transgender issues, would provide expert and real-world experience to improve policy-making, program development and budgeting decisions.

“We set ourselves up for failure if we do not take into account the experience of people who have been homeless,” said Bonin. “Programs that sound good on paper or in a City Council meeting may not work given the complexities of being without housing. We need to be listening to the people who can tell us if the programs taxpayers are paying for are working as intended.”

Just last week, Los Angeles City Controller Ron Galperin released a scathing audit that highlighted the county’s failure to house individuals experiencing homelessness. According to the audit, the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) failed to meet seven of nine of its goals in the fiscal year 2017-2018 and five of eight goals in 2018-2019. This poor track record comes as LAHSA has doubled the number of outreach workers over the past two years.

LAHSA responded by calling the report “misleading”, stating it “ultimately says nothing about LAHSA’s outreach efforts, which contacted record numbers of our homeless neighbors in the year it studied,” but the agency did agree that complaint-driven outreach should be de-emphasized throughout the system.

At City Council meetings policymakers routinely hear about programs and policies from government officials, non-profit executives, business associations, neighborhood councils, homeowners, developers and activists from a variety of organizations and perspectives.

One voice, however, has been largely missing: the voice of people who are homeless or have recently been homeless.

“As a result, elected officials and policymakers rarely hear when programs fail to work as advertised, when resources and staff are misaligned, how new ordinances impact people who are homeless, or how sexism, homophobia, and institutional racism impact services,” Bonin said.

To date, City officials have created standing commissions and advisory councils such as the Commission on the Status of Women, the Commission on Disability, the Commission on Community and Family Services, the Native American Indian Commission and the Transgender Advisory Council. Other cities, including Austin, Texas and Vancouver, Canada, have also used “lived experience” advisory commissions to offer guidance on homelessness policy decisions.

In legislation Bonin submitted, he requested the city’s Chief Legislative Analyst to make recommendations to the City Council on the most effective way to establish a Commission on Lived Experience with Homelessness, composed entirely of people who are currently, or have been in the recent past, homeless in Los Angeles. Bonin’s legislation further instructs the Legislative Analyst to consult with people who are or who have been homeless as they prepare their recommendations.

In addition, Bonin’s motion recommends requirements to represent different segments and demographics of the homeless population, including accounting for the over-representation of African-Americans among individuals experiencing homelessness.

Bonin’s legislation was seconded by Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson and was referred to the Homelessness and Poverty Committee.

Related Posts

PPCC discuss policies for protecting Palisades trees: Palisades Westside Local Show November 15, 2019

November 15, 2019

November 15, 2019

Palisades Westside Local Show – November, 15, 2019 – All your local news, events and happenings in under 5 minutes.*...

Over 10 Car Break-ins Have Occurred in Palisades Past 2 Weeks: Palisades Crime Update

November 13, 2019

November 13, 2019

According to a regular crime update submitted by Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Senior Lead Officer Michael Moore, over the...

Important Pacific Palisades Community Council Meeting, National Take a Hike Day: Pacific Palisades Westside Local Show tNovember 11, 2019

November 12, 2019

November 12, 2019

Pacific Palisades Westside Local Show – November 11, 2019 – All your local news, events and happenings in under 5...

Dozens of Endangered Frogs Found in SM Mountains

November 10, 2019

November 10, 2019

Red-legged frogs coming back after Woolsey Fire By Keldine Hull Nearly 30 adult California red-legged frogs (Rana draytonil) have been...

City Officials, Airbnb Come to Agreement for Home-Sharing Compliance

November 9, 2019

November 9, 2019

Enforcing new regulations that went into effect Nov. 1 By Sam Catanzaro The Los Angeles City Council has approved an...

Learn From Getty Fire and Give Back to First Responders

November 8, 2019

November 8, 2019

Informational town hall this weekend By Sam Catanzaro The Palisades and Getty Fire burned nearly 800 acres combined and destroyed...

Palisades dog park at Temescal Gateway? College night at The Getty Villa: Palisades News Westside Local Show – November 8, 2019

November 8, 2019

November 8, 2019

Palisades News Westside Local Show – November 8, 2019 – all your local news and events in under 5 minutes.*...

Serving Homemade Meals With Chefs for Seniors

November 8, 2019

November 8, 2019

By Keldine Hull Chefs for Seniors offers a unique and tailored dining experience for senior citizens in the comfort of...

Whoopi Goldberg’s Palisades Mansion Back on Market for Nearly $10M

November 7, 2019

November 7, 2019

Art Deco style house with a long Hollywood history By Chad Winthrop Whoopi Goldberg’s Pacific Palisades Art Deco mansion on...

Lily the Pink – Helping Women Look Their Best

November 6, 2019

November 6, 2019

Sandy Allbright’s permanent makeup studio in Brentwood  By Staff Writer For women who want to look their best all the...

LAFD town hall fire safety meeting, Getty Villa perfume event: Palisades News Westside Local Show November 4 2019

November 4, 2019

November 4, 2019

Palisades News Westside Local Show November 4 2019 – all your local news and events in under 5 minutes.* LAFD...

Will Rogers’ 140th Birthday

November 4, 2019

November 4, 2019

By Keldine Hull Monday, November 4 marks what would have been Will Rogers’ 140th birthday- the Hollywood legend who lassoed...

Comments
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *