Chair Mitchell Passes Motion Declaring LA County a Housing First County, Rejects Wasting Taxpayer Money on Strategies that Fall Short in Ending Homelessness

TUESDAY, MAY 3, 2022
Holly J. Mitchell. Image courtesy of Mitchell/LA County


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LOS ANGELES, CALIF. (LOS ANGELES COUNTY) — Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair Holly Mitchell provided the following statement on why she voted no on the motion to support the recommendations of the Blue Ribbon Commission on Homelessness and the importance of declaring LA County a Housing First County in helping to end the homelessness crisis:

My votes today reflect the best practices across the country of putting resources and time towards what works in addressing our homelessness crisis. Last year, I voted no on the motion to form the Blue Ribbon Commission on Homelessness – this entity was formed to discuss and address the issues of Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority’s governance.

I did not vote to support the formation of the Blue Ribbon Commission on Homelessness because doubling down on governance will not solve our housing and homelessness crisis. Even before the six-month process to create the commission with $1 million of taxpayer money, the County had plenty of studies, and over 500 interviews with stakeholders – who agreed that the increased governance was not the issue here.

Today, I voted no on the motion that will require the County to move forward with all seven of the recommendations by the Blue Ribbon Commission on Homelessness without the option to vote separately for each recommendation. All seven of the recommendations do not uphold public transparency on decision making and the usage of our limited homelessness funds. Without the option to bifurcate the vote on the recommendations that do make sense, as a whole I could not support the motion.

Our constituents and taxpayers have been clear. We need action now to close the gap in housing, services, and funding. I refuse to support a blank check of taxpayer funds to setting up more committees which do not focus on the long-term solutions of creating the housing, health facilities and corresponding services that have been proven to bring people off the streets and into homes.

The solutions to homelessness are known, simply put it comes down to homes and services. The crisis has grown in scope and scale across the 88 cities and unincorporated areas that make up LA County. Our geography, history of racial discrimination and diverse jurisdictions further complicate this issue. Solving it requires aligned policies across all jurisdictions that will:

1) Increase capacity to build the diverse housing needs such as board and care and permanent affordable housing,

2) Intentionally address systemic racial and economic inequities that lead to poverty and becoming unhoused and

3) Provide consistent long-term funding to meet the challenge of scope and scale of wrap around services to keep residents housed.

I will continue to emphatically support the Housing First model and policies which center the creation and preservation of housing along with wrap around services. I am not alone in seeing the value of Housing First and want to thank my co-author Supervisor Solis and my colleagues Supervisors Hahn, Kuehl for supporting my motion declaring LA County a Housing First County. I am proud to have also supported Supervisors Hahn and Barger’s motion accepting the County’s Measure H Strategy Reassessment and Homelessness Framework, which provides actions for improving the system of care for our unhoused residents.

I voted yes on the two motions listed above that keep us focused on real solutions for the most impacted residents, allow us to significantly close the disparity of Black people and communities of color experiencing homelessness and tackle the challenge of stopping the rising numbers of young people, seniors, and justice system involved residents from re-entry into homelessness.