On her first day in office, Los Angeles City Attorney Hydee Feldstein Soto joined Mayor Karen Bass as she declared a local emergency on homelessness. The City Attorney’s Office provided the legal framework for this declaration, which cuts red tape, facilitates additional resources, and streamlines efforts to bring people inside. The following week, Mayor Bass signed an executive directive launching Inside Safe, the new citywide program offering housing and a commitment of services so that people experiencing homelessness can stay inside for good. In an historic dual declaration, the L.A. County Board of Supervisors also proclaimed a local emergency for homelessness in the County of Los Angeles.
Approximately 42,000 people are unsheltered and sleeping on the streets of the City of Los Angeles on a given night. The Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office has numerous programs, resources and initiatives to assist.
HEART runs L.A. Homeless Court, a criminal record clearing program for people who are either experiencing homelessness or are at risk of experiencing homelessness. HEART helps participants resolve L.A. County infraction tickets for minor violations, such as jaywalking, having an open container, or having expired car registration tags (but not parking citations). These tickets are wiped clean in exchange for service engagement with resources or service providers that offer housing, public benefits enrollment, drug treatment, medical care, or job training. By eliminating the collateral consequences of the unpaid fines and fees from these infraction tickets, HEART helps remove barriers to housing, transportation and employment faced by program participants.
HEART is funded with a Measure H grant from the LA County Board of Supervisors and enrolls approximately 1,000 participants each year - oftentimes resolving multiple infraction tickets for each participant. HEART meets its participants at several in-person community events each month. Also, service providers can sign-up participants by email, phone - 213-978-1937, or by going to the HEART website.
For people experiencing homelessness needing help with L.A. City parking citations, visit LADOT's Community Assistance Parking Program.
Unresolved misdemeanor cases or warrants may prevent an unhoused person from getting a job or housing. The Los Angeles City Attorney’s "Clean Slate" program aims to solve this issue. With Clean Slate, social service providers identify unhoused clients who have unresolved misdemeanor cases that are under the jurisdiction of the City of Los Angeles. If there are no ongoing public safety issues, a member of the HEART team works with defense counsel to resolve the cases – these resolutions encourage the client to continue working with their service provider to move out of homelessness (e.g., obtaining IDs, attending counseling sessions, applying for housing or a job, etc.). After the client completes this work, the misdemeanor cases are often dismissed. This allows the unhoused client to move into housing or employment with a clean slate.
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 the Guidelines For Plan Check and Permit Requirement for Interim Hotel and Motel Conversion Projects, which also provides guidance about the plan check and permitting process.
Homeless patient dumping is when a health facility (hospital or skilled nursing facility) releases or discharges a patient, including those experiencing homelessness, 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 wheelchair bound homeless patient with an open leg wound needing a few weeks of recuperative care is instead discharged to the streets where the wound is likely to be become infected, require re-hospitalization and possibly result in an amputation. 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. If you see or suspect homeless patient dumping, call the City Attorney's Office at 213-978-8070.
The City of L.A.'s Safe Parking Program provides a safe place to park every night while utilizing services for housing. People using this program may qualify for additional programs from the City Attorney's Office, including allowing participants to resolve certain non-traffic citations, cases and warrants by engaging in services, instead of paying fines or fees or facing jail time. To learn more, visit the Safe Parking Program website or call the intake line, Monday through Saturday, 8:30am - 4pm, at 323-210-3375.
LA DOOR is a comprehensive, health-focused, preventative approach to addiction that proactively engages individuals at elevated risk of returning to the City Attorney’s Office on a new misdemeanor offense related to substance use, mental illness, or homelessness. Over 90% of LA DOOR participants are homeless. Rather than waiting to charge new arrests, LA DOOR delivers peer-led, multidisciplinary social services to five hot spot locations - one for each day of the week - to proactively engage participants in substance use treatment, mental health support, medical treatment, 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 diversion on eligible non-violent arrests. Participants who go through LA DOOR 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 for LA DOOR transitional housing, and the Public Defender’s Office for addressing participants’ legal barriers. Since 2017, LA DOOR has served over 1,500 individuals in South and Central LA. LA DOOR is funded by grants from Proposition 47, the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act. The LA DOOR project is one of several projects created by the City Attorney’s Recidivism Reduction and Drug Diversion Unit.
Understanding that some individuals are better served by mental health services and treatment instead of incarceration, pre-plea diversion under California Assembly Bill 1810 is an innovative approach to dealing with offenders who suffer from mental illness and - in many instances - are experiencing homelessness. The Rapid Diversion Program ("RDP") expedites evaluation for this diversion and connection to treatment. Funded with a grant from the MacArthur Foundation, led by the Los Angeles County Alternatives to Incarceration (ATI) Initiative, and in partnership with many local agencies, RDP is a collaborative effort to efficiently and effectively address the root causes of behavior. In RDP, an LA County Department of Mental Health expert is able to recommend the defendant for pre-plea diversion under this approach. 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. Email Kelly Boyer, Central Operations' Supervisor, for more information.
Senate Bill 1338 established the Community Assistance, Recovery, and Empowerment (CARE) Act, creating CARE Court, a statewide framework to provide individuals with severe mental health and substance use disorders the support and services they need to get healthy. CARE Courts will be operated by Los Angeles County and are civil, not criminal, courts. CARE Court connects a person in crisis with a comprehensive civil court-ordered care plan for up to 12 months, with the possibility of extending it an additional 12 months. The plan is cooperatively developed by behavioral health professionals, the individual and a volunteer supporter and can include a broad range of necessary services including medical, wellness and recovery support, and connection to other social services such as housing. L.A. County is working to implement the CARE Act by December 1, 2023, one year ahead of schedule. Go to California’s Health & Human Services Agency for more information.
The L.A. County Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (Project LEAD) program is based on a national model in which individuals with a history of opioid use are connected with harm reduction services through contacts with law enforcement. In L.A. County, it is operated by the Office of Diversion and Reentry (ODR) in partnership with LAPD. ODR has previously implemented Project LEAD in the City of Long Beach and is now implementing a pilot program in the LAPD Hollywood Division. The goal of the program is to place approximately 100 people experiencing homelessness into 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 with LAPD. LAPD Hollywood has a team of specially trained officers who have relationships with LEAD case managers and are responsible for making the referrals. When an individual is referred through a pre-booking diversion, the City Attorney office will be notified and then then evaluate whether the candidate is eligible. Once admitted into the program, the candidate will be monitored to see if they have 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, criminal charges will be filed if the case otherwise meets criminal filing standards.
- 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, LA 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. Further details and up to date progress on what is being constructed can be found on LA Housing Department's Supportive Housing website.
- Measure H
LA County passed Measure H in 2016 with funding that started July 2017. This measure raised County sales tax by one-quarter (1/4) of a cent with revenues providing services for people experiencing homelessness. The tax applies to all the cities within LA County and is in effect for ten years. LA County’s plan for these funds is detailed on the Homeless Initiative website.
- Measure ULA
Passed by voters in November 2022, Measure ULA adds a 4% tax on property sales (residential and commercial) of more than $5 million, and a 5.5% tax on sales over $10 million. Measure ULA revenue is earmarked for creating affordable housing and preventing more people from falling into homelessness.
- Inside Safe
Launched by Mayor Karen Bass, Inside Safe is the new citywide strategy to bring people inside from tents and encampments for good, and to prevent encampments from returning. Among the goals of this new strategy: reducing loss of life on our streets, increasing access to mental health and substance abuse treatment, eliminating encampments, promoting long-term housing stability, and enhancing the safety and hygiene of neighborhoods for residents and businesses.
- Housing First Model
This 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 options as soon as possible, regardless of whether or not any underlying behavioral and/or medical issues have been resolved.
- 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 is to streamline the processes through which communities assess, house, and support housing retention for individuals/families who are experiencing homelessness. CES prioritizes the sickest, most vulnerable homeless people first and gives them priority over others experiencing homelessness. Not all service providers participate in CES.
- Bridge Housing
This is 24 hour emergency shelter to be utilized by eligible homeless individuals as identified through 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 of LA defines a homeless encampment as one or more persons living or storing personal property in an unsheltered area.
- Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA)
LAHSA is the lead agency in the LA Continuum of Care, the regional planning body that coordinates housing and services for homeless families and individuals in LA County. LAHSA is a joint powers agreement between the County and the City. In 1993, the LA County Board of Supervisors and the LA 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.
- Service Provider Area (SPA)
A SPA is a specific geographic region within LA County which, due to its large size, has been divided into eight geographic areas. These distinct regions allow the LA 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.
- 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
This is a building where housing which is linked to supportive services is offered, usually for a period of up to 24 months. This timeline facilitates the movement to permanent housing for people with low incomes who may have one or more disabilities, and may include adults, emancipated minors, families with children, elderly people, young adults aging out of foster care, individuals exiting from institutional settings, veterans, and homeless people.
- Supportive Services
These services 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.
The Vulnerability Index–Service Prioritization Decision Assistance Tool (VI-SPDAT) 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. It is used to determine 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. CES prioritizes those people assessed as high acuity by the VI-SPDAT.
- 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 LA developed and deployed this program with specialized teams from LA Sanitation (LASAN), the Bureau of Street Services, LAPD, LA 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.
- Comprehensive Cleaning and Rapid Engagement Program (CARE/CARE+)
On October 1 2019, LA Sanitation’s Livability Services Division launched the Comprehensive Cleaning and Rapid Engagement (CARE/CARE+) program providing teams for immediate, dedicated service deployed regionally. These teams conduct citywide encampment clean-ups along with trash, litter/debris, and health hazard and/or safety hazard removal on the City's public rights-of-way. The primary mission of CARE/CARE+ is to deliver services to the individuals experiencing homelessness within their service areas. CARE+ teams assigned to A Bridge Home Special Enforcement and Cleaning Zones (ABH SECZs) provide full comprehensive cleanings including the identification, documentation, and removal of line-of-sight health and/or safety hazards, the removal of trash, litter, and debris, and the power washing of public rights-of-way to ensure fully sanitized areas for public safety. Additionally, the CARE teams assigned to ABH SECZs provide LAMC 56.11 compliance, spot cleaning services, health hazard and/or safety hazard identification, documentation, and removal, trash, litter, and debris removal.