Key To Addressing Homelessness Throughout California Is Early Intervention


California needs to do more to address homelessness throughout the state. According to Margarita Fernandez with the state auditor's office, the Golden State isn't great at sheltering the homeless. 

"When we took a look at homelessness, you know, it's a national crisis as well as in California. And California actually has the largest homeless population across the nation." 

A recent report from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development reported the state had around 134,000 homeless individuals as of January 2017 with Los Angeles County bearing the bulk of the homeless homeless population in the state, which qualifies it second largest in the nation.  

So, with the issue on everyone's mind and seemingly getting worse, how can cities help combat the issue? One think tank in Los Angeles says the key to combating homelessness, is catching it early. Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl says programs like People Assisting the Homeless are key to helping the newly, or borderline homeless find work and get them off the streets.

"You get help with like a resume, and people will actually drive you to a job interview, try to help you find it. But, you know, it's one person at a time." Kuehl said. 

According to the report, nearly 600,000 Los Angeles County residents are in poverty and spend 90 percent or more of their income on housing and that anywhere between 2,600 to 5,200 individuals fall into persistent homelessness every year. Economic Roundtable president Dan Flaming says training someone for a job is far cheaper than the $300,000 in subsidies that would be needed to make permanent housing affordable for a homeless person. 

"The avoided public costs will more than offset the costs of intervention," Flaming said. 

The state auditor's agrees. Fernandez says the best way to combat homelessness is by having the state bolster the Homeless Coordinating and Financing Council to help it take action.

"In order to do so they should allow them to hire some staff and some funding so that they can carry out some of the goals and make sure they're providing strategic direction for all of California," Fernandez said. 

Photo: Getty Images


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