Prioritizing Homes for LA’s Homeless

Members of the Hollywood community banded together to find homes for the homeless – making those in the greatest danger their top priority.
by | May 26, 2011 AT 3:20 PM

Seventy-five percent of Los Angeles County’s spending related to homelessness goes to the 25 percent that have lived on the streets for at least a year and suffer from a disabling condition. Hollywood’s local officials and members of the social services, business and religious communities volunteered their time last year to find homes for the homeless, starting with those in the greatest danger in hopes that it would free up more money for the rest, reports the Los Angeles Times. Modeled after a $3.6-million county pilot program, the grassroots campaign—which started with zero dollars and raised $800,000 in just one year—interviewed every homeless person they could find, ranked them according to vulnerability, and found homes for 37 of them (exceeding their goal of 20). And within weeks, 34 more people are expected to get roofs over their heads. In contrast to most homeless programs, which only help someone if they’ve been treated for mental, physical or substance abuse conditions, Hollywood’s initiative makes finding people a home the top priority. Similar initiatives exist in several other towns and are all responsible for taking more than 600 of the county’s estimated 48,000 homeless people off the streets.