June 16, 2023
L.A. County Homeless Initiative
Skid Row Slated for Massive and Rapid Expansion of Housing and Services
More than half of the homeless population in Skid Row – about 2,500 people – will move into housing and receive services over the next three years, thanks to a $60 million state grant to Los Angeles County’s Department of Health Services (DHS) that will rapidly scale up an action plan developed with the local community.
The new infusion of Encampment Resolution Fund (ERF) grants from the California Interagency Council on Homelessness, part of the Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency (BCSH), will jump-start elements of the Skid Row Action Plan by supplementing $280 million in already committed and leveraged funding from the County and City of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), and public housing authorities.
Developed by DHS Housing for Health in collaboration with stakeholders, business owners, and community members who live and work in the area, the Skid Row Action Plan was intended to comprehensively address the need for more interim and permanent housing, behavioral health, substance use treatment, and other services.
Though spanning only 4 square miles, Skid Row has 4,400 people experiencing homelessness, 2,695 of them unsheltered, according to the 2022 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count. This is the densest concentration of people experiencing homelessness in the County.
Under the fast-tracked Skid Row Action Plan, Los Angeles County, in collaboration with the City of Los Angeles and LAHSA, will immediately provide hundreds of new interim housing beds at multiple hotels and motels in and near Skid Row, as well as other locations. About 350 of those interim housing beds will include enriched services for people with the most complex health and behavioral health needs.
The County will also create a “Safe Landing” facility in Skid Row that will be open 24/7 for walk-ins to access clinical services, interim housing beds, and/or triage and connections to other resources, as needed.
Over the course of three years, these interim housing beds are projected to serve about 2,500 people. An estimated 2,000 people are slated for placements into permanent housing. Meanwhile, outreach efforts are expected to help about 3,000 people.
The County will leverage its enhanced powers under the state of emergency declared by the Board of Supervisors earlier this year to quickly staff up outreach teams, intensive case management services, housing navigation, and more. It will also cut red tape around housing, contracting, and procurement.
By doing so, the County can expand, enhance, and expedite efforts to help Skid Row residents transition from encampments into interim housing and ultimately permanent housing.
The County also plans to provide supportive services, which can include physical and mental healthcare, substance use disorder treatment, benefits enrollment, and more.
“I thank Governor Gavin Newsom and BCSH Secretary Lourdes Castro Ramírez for recognizing the importance of issuing these funds to serve our Skid Row community,” said County Supervisor Hilda Solis, who represents the district that encompasses Skid Row. “This is the first step towards implementing the Skid Row Action Plan, which I have been thrilled to champion with local partners and stakeholders. As the heart of the overdose crisis, Skid Row residents deserve the dignity of housing where they can receive the care they need. This action will help to bring hundreds of people indoors quickly and support their path to recovery. I look forward to working with DHS Housing for Health and the City of Los Angeles to continue serving our most vulnerable residents.”
“Yet again, we are seeing the real, tangible results of locking arms at every level of government. The County has been there with us every step of the way as we implement Inside Safe and take steps to continue to bring Angelenos inside in other ways,” Mayor Karen Bass said. “By working together, we secured this funding, which will be instrumental in housing Angelenos living in Skid Row by bringing in critical interim housing resources. We are facing a crisis in our city and Skid Row is the historic epicenter — but announcements like this show that we can make progress on this issue. I want to thank Governor Newsom and Secretary Castro Ramírez for joining us in taking action on this issue and working with us to get this important work done.”
“This is welcome news for Los Angeles County, and we are grateful for this latest opportunity to team up with our partners — the City of Los Angeles, LAHSA, and the State of California — to address the crisis at hand,” County Chief Executive Officer Fesia Davenport said. “We will make full use of our expedited authority under the County’s local emergency to use these funds to expand programs and supportive services, and to alleviate the heavy toll of human misery in the Skid Row area.”
On top of the state’s $60 million ERF grant, the County is contributing $125 million towards the effort and the City of Los Angeles is adding $40 million. Meanwhile, an estimated $55 million in vouchers will be leveraged from local public housing authorities.
The Skid Row Action Plan will also leverage $60 million in LAHSA resources, building upon a $15 million ERF grant received by LAHSA last year for the Every Woman Housed program specifically designed to end homelessness for women and families in Skid Row.
The needs of the homeless population in Skid Row are dire, with an estimated 1,900 people experiencing chronic homelessness.
About 36% of people experiencing homelessness in Skid Row reported a serious mental illness, 33% reported substance use disorder, 25% reported physical disability, and 13% reported a developmental disability.
Meanwhile, 38% reported having experienced domestic violence or intimate partner violence.
Skid Row also has the County’s highest number and proportion of overdose deaths.
Attesting to the disproportionate representation of people of color among the homeless population, about 56% of people experiencing homelessness in Skid Row identify as Black/African American, while 24% identify as Hispanic/Latinx.