Homeless Services are Supposed to Help.

I love Los Angeles and admire the DPSS programs and @SheilaKuehl the BOS member for my neighborhood. After 11 years of working with and around them I have a deep appreciation for them.
So imagine how horrified I am to find out that someone has been homeless for years and has been asking the system for help but not finding any relief.

I just spoke to a mother who “timed out” of the system years ago. When she went into the game program for assistance, her worker was the woman who replaced me at Maximus in Burbank. I know this worker. I trained this worker. This worker knows what to do. 

Nevertheless, this mother was never offered the opportunity to complete her high school diploma which is a major stepping stone chords finding permanent employment or earning enough money to end the poverty of her family. She was placed in a work training program which is a wonderful step but now she has to find her own permanent employment and she is greatly hindered by the lack of educational milestones. She was also not informed of the resources available to her children to pay to get them to school while she came to work. Her small subsidized paycheck has been used to pay for hotel rooms for her family and bus fare for her children. Theoretically the County of Los Angeles would be able to help her pay for the hotel room and get her into a shelter and I’d be paying for her children’s bus fare.
I know you think this may sound excessive and entitled. You are absolutely wrong. Parrots cannot go look for work if their children do not have a safe place to be. If they don’t have a safe home we can spend time in or childcare or somebody will watch them or a school where they can be supervised and learning, a mother or father is that tied to their children. You may have noticed an employer’s do not enjoy it when your bring your family to work with you. Addressing the child care issue and transportation for children is a major step and finding employment and ending poverty for their family. It is one of the reasons I really appreciate the DPSS program.
So this mother is staying in a hotel and connect it to the local shelter which is connected to DPSS and overseen by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. My suggestion is that she contact Sheila kuehl and ask for additional assistance and review of her case.

Just talking to this Mom, I could feel how helpless she was feeling and he’ll frustrated she was. I could see how the term and she’s been and also track all the positive step she’s been making to improve her life and the lives of her children. This mother is doing everything right and somehow everything is going wrong for her. I take it personally, because if I were still a gain worker, this would not be her situation. I hope.

Who is really on the Board of Supervisors?

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Every day I walk under these framed photos and wonder how no one else in a County Office realizes the pictures are wrong. Sorry Don Knabe, you don’t really exist – which is sad because you’re awesome. As much as I dig Zev, it is time to let Sheila Kuehl stand alone.

Come on West Valley Department of Public and Social Services and contracted GAIN Services  provider … catch up!

Advisory Committees and Commissions for LA County

Be heard and make LA a better place to live, work and play. There is a Committee and Commission for almost everything. Find the list here: http://bos.co.la.ca.us/Rosters/rptFactsheetList.cfm?FactsheetPageSection=1.0   and all the types of commissions and committees here: http://bos.co.la.ca.us/Rosters/CommReports.cfm . feel free to tell Supervisor Michael D Antonovich! He can be contacted  at http://antonovich.co.la.ca.us/Pages/ats.htm. I mention him because he is one of my favorites and covers the area where I live – now that I am officially a resident of Los Angeles city.

I really want to be on this one for LAHSA.

March 23rd meeting to discuss cutting housing to the homeless

Los Angeles has a huge population of low-income adults and families and very little housing. the rents here are tremendous and some people simply are not currently able to pay for housing on their own. This is where the Section 8 Program steps in for a short time and provides rental assistance to end or prevent homelessness.

Housing First has been shown as a successful concept to ending the cycle of homelessness. Housing individuals and families  is far less expensive than providing food and clothing and shelter through publicly funded non-profits and government programs.

I get that is sounds like we are coddling the low-income and simply handing out something that the rest of us work very hard to pay for. In that respect – I understand the reluctance to continue to fund the program. I really do.

However, as a tax payer and as a Homeless Advocate – I have to go with the most cost-effective and successful plan.

Please, let us stop acting as if we can just starve out the poor people.  Yes, “If you build it, they will come” – but it is also true that “if you build nothing, they will still come” only then they will be dying in the streets from disease and starvation and committing crimes of desperation.

Suggestions:

1. Dont give Cash Aid directly to individuals – pay the bulk of it directly into publically funded housing – or families and friends who give shelter –  for rent. Let’s not give rent money to people who are not paying for rent or shelter.

2. Expand the Shelter Plus Care Program and swap out regular section 8 housing. Let’s use our skills to provide guidance and planning to tenants on Subsidized Housing and transition them out to Market Rate Housing. GR and CalWORKS both have education/training /and employment assistance components built-in to them. Enforce the regulations and make compliance mandatory to keep housing without a great increase in cost of services.

3. Assist applicants in turning in paperwork and form completion. Poor customer service breeds contempt and encourages participants to feel like they want to retaliate and fight the program instead of seeing it as a tool to move them through the program and into self-sufficient housing.

LAHSA to get contract

From the Board of Supervisors adgenda on June 2:
Recommendation: Award and instruct the Chairman to sign a sole-source
contract with the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority for the provision
of emergency shelter services to homeless CalWORKs Welfare-to-Work
participants at a three-year cost of $8,684,244, effective July 1, 2009
through June 30, 2012, fully funded with CalWORKs Single Allocation;
authorize the Director of Public Social Services to prepare and execute
amendments to the contract for any increase or decrease, of no more than
15% of the total contract amount; also authorize the Director to provide the
contractor with up to three advance payments per fiscal year to cover
contractor’s operational/administrative costs, not to exceed one-twelfth of
the annual contract amount or $241,229, with the County to fully recoup all
advances by June 30th of the current fiscal year. APPROVE (Department
of Public Social Services) (09-1161)
————— personal note: This would be awesome – if only the LAHSA staff would answer the telephone when I call them with someone who needs shelter!