HOMELESSNESS

"Los Angeles needs mission-driven, accountable, even impatient leadership on homelessness — leadership

that is both focused and empowered to make things happen."

- City Attorney Mike Feuer: LA Times Op-Ed: L.A. needs a homelessness czar

 

PROGRAMS AND INITIATIVES FOR PEOPLE EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS

HOMELESS ENGAGEMENT AND RESPONSE TEAM

Our Homeless Engagement and Response Team (HEART), in partnership with the LA County Public Defender’s Office, runs a criminal record clearing program for people experiencing homelessness or at risk of experiencing homelessness. HEART deploys alongside the public defenders to park spaces, shelters, service providers, and libraries to host mobile legal clinics – essentially bringing the Court to the streets. HEART helps participants resolve infraction citations for minor violations, such as jaywalking, having an open container, or having expired car tags. These tickets are wiped clean in exchange for service engagement with onsite resources, such as housing, benefits, drug treatment, medical care, and job training. The public defenders help participants expunge past misdemeanor and felony convictions and connect with counsel for active cases. This community engagement is funded by the LA County Board of Supervisors, which recently awarded HEART nearly $1 million dollars to conduct this innovative legal work. Last year HEART hosted 56 clinics, engaged 1,200 participants, facilitated the resolution of 1,102 cases and connected 1,112 to homeless case managers.

Recently LA City Attorney Mike Feuer, LA County District Attorney Jackie Lacey and LAPD Chief Michael Moore partnered to void over two million low-level and uncollectible citations that were over five years-old. This will unclog the courts while also stopping this detrimental cycle of arrest – citation – penalty that so many people experiencing homelessness and poverty find themselves in. HEART is continuing to rectify this cycle through the LA County Homeless Court Program. 

For more information, email att.heart@lacity.org or call 213-978-1937. 

 

Brochure: Criminal Record Clearing Program

Brochure: Substance Use Disorder (Addiction)

Overview: LA County Substance Abuse Prevention and Control  

 

HOMELESS PATIENT DUMPING

​Patient dumping is when a health facility (hospital or skilled nursing facility) releases or discharges a patient including the homeless onto the streets or to an unlicensed facility (shelter, half-way-house, crisis center) that cannot provide the level care necessary for the patient's recovery. An example is when a wheel chair bound homeless patient has an open leg wound that will need a few weeks of recuperative care to fully recover is discharged to the street where the wound is likely to be come infected, require re-hospitalization and possibly result in the loss of a limb. 

Current law requires hospitals to work with the patient's family when discussing treatment and discharge, to create an appropriate patient discharge plan and to obtain a signed written informed consent from the patient if the hospital is transporting the patient by hospital van,taxi or bus to any location other than the patient's residence, which does not include the street or a shelter. 

 

The civil law enforcement actions brought by the City Attorney against hospitals and skilled nursing facilities has resulted in those facilities providing monetary assistance to homeless service groups within the City of Los Angeles as well as requiring those facilities to adopt Homeless Patient Discharge Planning Protocol.

 

Our office also created a patient dumping hotline and we encourage anyone that sees it, or suspects it, to let us know by calling 213-978-8340. On November 5, 2018, at the California Endowment, LA City Attorney Mike Feuer, LA County District Attorney Jackie Lacey and the Hospital Association of Southern California convened health care providers, social service agencies and other community experts at a symposium - Addressing the Challenge of Homeless Patient Discharges.

 

SIGNIFICANT HOMELESS PATIENT DUMPING CASES

  • 1/3/2014:  City Attorney Feuer Announces Settlement in Homeless Patient Dumping Case

  • 5/29/2014:  LA City Attorney Mike Feuer Continues Crackdown on Skid Row Homeless Patient Dumping

  • 8/27/2014:  City Attorney Feuer Continues Actions to End Skid Row Homeless Patient Dumping

  • 4/21/2016:  LA City Attorney Mike Feuer Secures Settlement with Good Samaritan Hospital over Allegations of Patient Dumping; Will Adopt Protocols for Discharging Homeless Patients, Pay $450,000

  • 6/23/2016:  City Attorney Mike Feuer Secures $1 Million in Penalties Over Allegations of Second Incident of Homeless Patient Dumping By Pacifica Hospital of the Valley

  • 10/25/2016:  LA City Attorney Mike Feuer Secures $450,000 Against Gardens Regional Hospital Over Allegations of Homeless Patient Dumping

  • 6/28/2018:  LA City Attorney Mike Feuer Secures $450,000 Settlement from Nursing Home over Allegations of Homeless Patient Dumping
     

  • 7/2/2018:  LA City Attorney Mike Feuer and District Attorney Jackie Lacey Secure Settlement with Silver Lake Medical Center over Allegations of Homeless Patient Dumping; will co-host summit to address challenges of discharging homeless patients

 

  • 2/8/2019:  LA City Attorney Mike Feuer Secures $600,000 Settlement with Lakeview Terrace Facility over Allegations of Unlawfully Discharging Homeless and Mentally-Impaired Patients

LA DOOR
 

LA DOOR is a comprehensive, health-focused, preventative approach to addiction that proactively engages individuals at elevated risk of returning to the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office on a new misdemeanor offense related to substance use, mental illness, or homelessness. Over 80% of LA DOOR participants are homeless. Rather than waiting to charge new arrests, LA DOOR delivers peer-led multidisciplinary social services to five "hotspot" locations - one for each day of the week - to proactively engage participants in substance use treatment, mental health support, physical healthcare, and case management – all without asking law enforcement to be the first point of contact. Though most participants are engaged through outreach, LA DOOR also offers pre-booking diversion on eligible Prop 47 drug arrests. Participants who go through pre-booking diversion can take advantage of LA DOOR services instead of having their arrest processed for charging.


To implement LA DOOR, the Office of the City Attorney partners with SSG Project 180 for its outreach and intensive outpatient case management services, West Angeles Community Development Corporation and Ms. Hazel’s House for LA DOOR transitional housing, and the Public Defender’s Office for addressing participants’ legal barriers. From January 2018 to March 2019, LA DOOR assisted 451 individuals in South LA, with 281 completing two months of case management services, 164 receiving substance use treatment, 81 receiving mental health care, 64 receiving physical health care, 33 receiving legal support, and over 100 receiving housing support. LA DOOR has operated in South LA (Southwest, Southeast, and 77th LAPD Divisions) since January 2017, is expanding into Central LA (Central, Rampart, and Newton LAPD Divisions) beginning in January, 2020. LA DOOR is funded through $12 million in Proposition 47 grants. The LA DOOR project is one of several projects created by the City Attorney’s Recidivism Reduction and Drug Diversion Unit.


For more information, contact:

Jamie Larson, Supervising Attorney - jamie.larson@lacity.org 
Kyle Kirkpatrick, Senior Program Administrator - kyle.kirkpatrick@lacity.org 

 

PROJECT LEAD 

The Los Angeles County Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program is based on a national mode where individuals with a history of opioid use are connected with harm reduction services through contacts with law enforcement. In Los Angeles County, the program is operated by the Office of Diversion and Reentry (ODR) in partnership with Los Angeles Police Department. ODR has previously implemented Project LEAD in the City of Long Beach and is now implementing a pilot program in LAPD Hollywood Division. The goal of the program is to place approximately 100 homeless persons in housing and services over the course of a two year period. 

The LEAD program will identify candidates for this program through social contacts and pre-arrest contacts between individuals and LAPD Hollywood Division’s Coordinated Outreach Resource and Enforcement (CORE) unit which is specially tasked with homeless outreach and enforcement. Referrals into the program are provided exclusively through the CORE team. When an individual is referred through pre-booking diversion, the Neighborhood Prosecutor (NP) will receive notification that an individual has been referred to the LEAD program by the arresting agency and/or the case manager. The NP will then evaluate whether the candidate is eligible for the project based upon the Lead Ineligibility List.


Once admitted into the program, the NP will monitor whether each program candidate has finished the complete assessment intake interview within the 30-day time limit. If the candidate fails to finish the complete assessment intake interview with the case manager within 30 days, the NP will file criminal charges if the case otherwise meets criminal filing standards.
The NP will also conduct a holistic analysis of the participants criminal history by identifying pending criminal cases, including probation violation matters, outstanding warrants, and as best as possible, new arrests of all LEAD participants. The NP may coordinate with other prosecutors in Los Angeles County in all other pending criminal matters involving LEAD participants, to aid them in exercising their prosecutorial discretion in a way which will best encourage behavior change.

For more information, contact:

Ethan Weaver, Neighborhood Prosecutor with LAPD Hollywood - ethan.weaver@lacity.org.

 

MISDEMEANOR MENTAL HEALTH DIVERSION

Funded with a grant from the MacArthur Foundation, and in partnership with many local agencies, this is another innovative approach to dealing with low-level offenders who suffer from mental illness and - in many instances - are experiencing homelessness. Understanding that these individuals are better served by mental health services and residential treatment - housing - instead of incarceration, an LA County Department of Mental Health expert will be able to recommend the defendant for pre-plea diversion under AB 1810. A defendant who complies with the conditions of diversion will have their case dismissed. This approach can yield significant benefits: reducing pretrial incarceration rates for those suffering from mental illness; decreasing

costs related to the incarceration of those suffering from mental illness; increasing service linkage rates for justice-involved individuals suffering from mental illness; and ultimately, lowering recidivism rates for those suffering from mental illness. Since May, 69 people have been accepted into this program.

 

For more information, contact:

 

Kelly Boyer, Assistant Supervisor - Central Operations - kelly.boyer@lacity.org

Betty Nisly, Senior Legal Clerk - Central Operations - betty.nisly@lacity.org

 

OPERATION CLEAN SLATE

Operation Clean Slate (OCS) is a pilot program started in Van Nuys in March 2016 that assists people in handling warrants, open cases or outstanding court obligations on a misdemeanor. OCS is usually triggered when a service provider learns that a client has open criminal obligations that might impact their housing and/or employment options. Defendants who are already housed or on the verge of being housed have been the most successful cases, but social service providers can request OCS earlier in the process if they determine that a client would benefit. In most cases, a Neighborhood Prosecutor will pull the open case, schedule a day for the defendant and the case worker to appear in court, and work with defense counsel to craft a resolution to the case that supports the work of the social service provider.

For more information, contact:

 

Todd Gilman, LAPD Valley Bureau Neighborhood Prosecutor - todd.gilman@lacity.org

 
 

MOTEL CONVERSIONS
 

"Motels are infrastructure that already exist, they're often underutilized and they could hold the key to creating housing right now for people." - Mike Feuer, City Attorney
 

On April 20th, 2018, Ordinance 185489 became effective and amended Sections 12.03, 14.00 and 151.02 of the LA Municipal Code which established regulations to facilitate the use of existing hotels and motels for Supportive Housing or Transitional Housing for persons experiencing homelessness or those at risk of homelessness. Further, LAMC Section 14.00.A.12 facilitates the interim use of existing transient residential structures, such as Motels, Hotels, Apartment Hotels, Transient Occupancy Residential Structures and Hostels as Supportive Housing or Transitional Housing for persons experiencing homelessness or those at risk of homelessness. 

All projects must meet the zoning, compliance and performance standards described in this document from the LA Department of Building and Safety, which also provides guidance about the plan check and permitting process.

For information, contact Gita O'Neil - Assistant City Attorney and Director of Homelessness Policies & Strategies - gita.oneill@lacity.org.

HELPFUL DEFINITIONS 

 

PROPOSITION HHH

Proposition HHH Supportive Housing Loan Program (Prop HHH) passed in 2016 and is designed to develop supportive housing for homeless individuals and those at risk of homelessness throughout the City. In 2016, Los Angeles voters overwhelmingly voted for a $0.348 per square foot property tax which funds the $1.2 billion dollar bond measure. The program emphasis is on reducing homelessness by creating safe and affordable housing units, and increasing accessibility to a variety of necessary services and treatment programs.   More details and up to date progress on what is being built can be found here: www.lamayor.org/HomelessnessTrackingHHH

MEASURE H

This County measure passed in 2016 with funding that started July 2017. This measure raised the County sales tax by one-quarter (1/4) of a cent. The revenues go to provide services for the homeless. The tax applies to all the cities within the County of Los Angeles and is in effect for ten years. The County’s plan for the funds is detailed here: homeless.lacounty.gov/the-action-plan/

HOUSING-FIRST MODEL

This model offers permanent housing as quickly as possible for people experiencing homelessness, particularly for people with long histories of homelessness and health challenges. Income, sobriety, and/or participation in treatment (or other services) is voluntary and are not required as a condition for housing. The model’s basis is the philosophy that the best chance a person has of not returning to homelessness, is to provide housing as soon as possible, regardless of whether or not any underlying behavioral and/or medical issues have been resolved. Once safely housed, many people take advantage of offered services.

COORDINATED ENTRY SYSTEM ("CES")

“CES” is a regionally based system that connects new and existing programs into a “no wrong-door network” by assessing the needs of individuals/families/youth experiencing homelessness. CES then links them with the most appropriate housing and services options to end their homelessness. The goal of the CES is to streamline the processes through which communities assess, house, and support housing retention for individuals/families who are homeless. The CES system prioritizes the sickest, most vulnerable homeless people first and gives them priority over others experiencing homelessness. For various reasons, not all service providers participate in the CES.

BRIDGE HOUSING

24 hour emergency shelter to be utilized by eligible homeless individuals as identified through the CES. Some service or access to services are provided on site or nearby. The intention of this type of housing is to provide individuals with some stability so that they can more easily maintain contact with their service providers as they are assisted with finding housing.

PERMANENT SUPPORTIVE HOUSING ("PSH")

"PSH" is long term, community based housing that has supportive services for homeless persons with disabilities. This type of supportive housing enables the special needs population to live as independently as possible in a permanent setting with supportive services on site. Permanent Housing can be provided in one structure or in several structures at one site or in multiple structures at scattered sites. 

HOMELESS ENCAMPMENT

The City defines a homeless encampment as one or more persons living or storing personal property in an unsheltered area.

LOS ANGELES HOMELESS AUTHORITY ("LAHSA")

"LAHSA" is the lead agency in the Los Angeles Continuum of Care, which is the regional planning body that coordinates housing and services for homeless families and individuals in Los Angeles County. LAHSA is a joint powers agreement between the County and the City. In 1993, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and the Los Angeles mayor and City Council created LAHSA as an independent, joint powers authority. LAHSA coordinates and manages over $300 million annually in federal, state, county, and city funds for programs that provide shelter, housing, and services to people experiencing homelessness. LAHSA gets a high percentage of the Measure H funding (see below). More details can be found here: www.lahsa.org/about

SERVICE PROVIDER AREA ("SPA")

"SPA" is a specific geographic region within Los Angeles County. Due to the large size of LA County (4,300 square miles), it has been divided into 8 geographic areas. These distinct regions allow the Department of Public Health to develop and provide more relevant public health and clinical services targeted to the specific health needs of the residents in these different areas. More information on each SPA area can be found here: publichealth.lacounty.gov/chs/SPAMain/ServicePlanningAreas.htm

INTERIM HOUSING

Interim housing provides short-term stays and various services for people experiencing homelessness until they are connected with permanent housing. Interim housing includes shelters, where people can stay up to six months, and transitional housing, where people can stay up to two years.

TRANSITIONAL HOUSING

A building where housing linked to Supportive Services is offered, usually for a period of up to 24 months, to facilitate movement to permanent housing for persons with low incomes who may have one or more disabilities, and may include adults, emancipated minors, families with children, elderly persons, young adults aging out of the foster care system, individuals exiting from institutional settings, veterans, and homeless people.

SUPPORTIVE SERVICES

Services that are provided on a voluntary basis to residents of Supportive Housing and Transitional Housing, including, but not limited to, a combination of subsidized, permanent housing, intensive case management, medical and mental health care, substance abuse treatment, employment services, benefits advocacy, and other services or service referrals necessary to obtain and maintain housing.

VI-SPDAT

Vulnerability Index–Service Prioritization Decision Assistance Tool (VI-SPDAT), which is intended to assess the level of a person’s need, regardless of whether he or she already has a long history of experiencing homelessness. This tool is used to see if someone is "high acuity"- meaning very sick or in danger of becoming very sick or "low acuity" meaning not very sick and a low risk of becoming very sick. The CES system prioritizes those people the VI-SPDAT asseses as high acuity. 

OPERATION HEALTHY STREETS (OHS)

OHS was implemented in 2012 as a robust homeless community outreach program designed to provide adequate notice and identify high-risk people in need of services and assistance. The City of Los Angeles developed and deployed this program with specialized teams from LA Sanitation (LASAN), the Bureau of Street Services, Los Angeles Police Department, Los Angeles Fire Department, and other agencies to effectively reduce the impacts of encampments in the Skid Row area and the Venice Beach Area on public health, fire hazard, hazardous materials, and safety.