Pipeline to Progress: Interactive map shows homelessness and housing in L.A. County
Pipeline to Progress: Interactive map shows homelessness and housing in L.A. County
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Los Angeles County today unveiled a multilayered, interactive GIS planning tool designed to guide urgent efforts to create interim and supportive housing to address the homelessness crisis.
The tool, presented to the Board of Supervisors by Chief Executive Officer Sachi A. Hamai, is intended to guide policymakers in Los Angeles County and its 88 cities as they move to increase available housing.
“This planning tool provides a powerful and transparent roadmap for how we should be moving forward to address this crisis,” Hamai said. “It offers a unique visual presentation that shows the important efforts now underway—but also demonstrates the hard work that lies ahead.”
The map draws on data from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority’s January 2019 Point in Time Count, which reported nearly 59,000 people experiencing homelessness across Los Angeles County—more than 44,000 of them unsheltered.
The map makes it possible to view the homeless population data geographically, while adding layers that show existing supportive and interim housing, as well as housing that is currently being developed.
It reflects the unprecedented development underway to create more supportive housing than ever before in the County’s history. It also visually demonstrates gaps between where the need is and where projects currently exist or are being developed.
The tool unveiled today is the project’s first iteration; additional data and refinements will be added in the months ahead.
“We look forward to continuing to grow the usefulness of this planning tool as we attack this crisis with all the resources at our disposal,” Hamai said.
To access the map, scroll down or click here.
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Architecture firm selected to lead La Brea Tar Pits master plan
Architecture firm selected to lead La Brea Tar Pits master plan
Dr. Lori Bettison-Varga, President and Director of the Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County (NHMLAC), today announced the Museums’ selection of the architecture firm WEISS/MANFREDI to lead a master planning team in re-imagining the uniquely important and world-renowned La Brea Tar Pits. The team will work with NHMLAC on a multi-year process of public engagement, master planning, design and construction at the Tar Pits’ 13-acre campus, which encompasses the world’s only active paleontological research site in a major urban area, its asphalt seeps, surrounding parkland, and the George C. Page Museum building. More information and images of the conceptual design by WEISS/MANFREDI can be found at tarpits.org/reimagining-la-brea-tar-pits.
WEISS/MANFREDI’s multidisciplinary team includes Los Angeles-based experiential designer Karin Fong of Imaginary Forces; horticulturalist and nationally recognized expert in water conservation and California ecology, Robert Perry of Perry and Associates Collaborative; Los Angeles native and La Brea-educated paleobotanist Carole Gee; naturalist and artist Mark Dion; and designer Michael Bierut of Pentagram. The team will be augmented by Los Angeles-based consultants, including architect and historic preservation advocate Brenda Levin of Levin & Associates. A range of additional Los Angeles-based consultants will also be engaged in the master planning and subsequent project implementation phases.
“We are excited to move forward with Marion, Michael, and their remarkable team, as we work toward a more integrated experience of the museum and the landscape in Hancock Park while increasing community access, preserving the site’s iconic features and developing a more sustainable infrastructure for the next 50 years,” said Dr. Lori Bettison-Varga. “It was a difficult decision, as all three teams put forth compelling and creative conceptual approaches. But in the end, there was consensus in the feedback we received from the competition jury and selection committee, NHMLAC staff and board, and the Los Angeles community that WEISS/MANFREDI’s conceptual approach captured the imaginations of a broad cross section of audiences. We look forward to starting our master planning work with them in the new year.”
Marion Weiss and Michael Manfredi, principals at WEISS/MANFREDI, said, “There is truly no place in the world as magical as La Brea Tar Pits. We and our team are deeply honored and grateful for this once-in-a lifetime opportunity to reveal the multiple identities of the Tar Pits, the Museum, and Hancock Park. Our ‘Loops and Lenses’ concept creates new connections between the museum and the Park, between science and culture, and envisions the entire site as an unfolding place of discovery. We are thrilled to begin work with Dr. Bettison-Varga and NHMLAC to rejuvenate the Tar Pits and the Museum and carry them into the future and into the public imagination.”
The Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County are a public / private partnership with the County of Los Angeles, which owns the 23 acres of Hancock Park, including the 13-acre parcel managed by NHMLAC. Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl said, “I’m happy to see the County move forward on this distinctive 21st century re-imagining of one of our most notable cultural and scientific landmarks. We considered proposals from around the world, received input from thousands of members of the public, and chose this exciting concept which will dramatically enhance the public experience while improving the sustainability of the Museum and Tar Pits.”
NHMLAC chose WEISS/MANFREDI’s team through an international search process, in which the Museums chose three finalists based on the overall quality and character of their response to a Request for Information, their conceptual approach to the project, and their previous experience and team strength, along with interviews and references. Copenhagen-based Dorte Mandrup and Diller Scofidio + Renfro of New York were the other two finalists announced at an “incubator” event held in June 2019, in which NHMLAC convened more than seventy leading figures from the fields of science, the arts, design, entertainment, education, technology, communications, philanthropy, and government for a day of open-ended discussion to kick-start the process toward developing conceptual approaches. In August, the three finalist firms and their teams publicly shared their visions for the site’s future. Through displays prepared by the three teams on view in the Page Museum and materials available on TarPits.org, NHMLAC invited public feedback on the proposals and received more than 2,100 survey responses that reflected Angelenos’ appreciation for the beloved site and cultural resource.
To assist with their selection, NHMLAC assembled a jury of leading figures from the fields of architecture, landscape architecture, design, science, natural history, and the arts. Jurors included Milton Curry, Dean of USC School of Architecture; Christopher Hawthorne, Chief Design Officer, City of Los Angeles; Kirk Johnson, Director of the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution; Kristin Sakoda, Executive Director, Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture; and Barbara Wilks, Founding Principal and Architect, W Architecture and Landscape Architecture, LLC.
"There's no site in Los Angeles, and really no site in the world, quite like La Brea Tar Pits," said jury member Christopher Hawthorne, Chief Design Officer for the City of Los Angeles. "It's a place of deep emotional connection and nostalgia for Angelenos, a community gathering place and a green space in the middle of the dense Miracle Mile, and a world-class location for research, discovery, and exhibition. I've been impressed by the patient and inclusive process that NHMLAC put together to choose a master-planning team. And in that process WEISS/MANFREDI and its collaborators stood out with a concept for the site that is both full of fresh thinking and thoughtfully responsive to those layered existing conditions."
Sachi A. Hamai: A legacy of service
Sachi A. Hamai: A legacy of service
L.A. County Chief Executive Officer Sachi A. Hamai, who is retiring on August 31, leaves behind a 32-year legacy of leadership, innovation and accomplishment. This video looks back at some of the career highlights and lasting impacts of a career dedicated to public service.
L.A. County Chief Executive Officer Sets New Retirement Date
August 10, 2020 — Los Angeles County Chief Executive Officer Sachi A. Hamai, who agreed to temporarily postpone her retirement to help lead the County through the initial phase of the COVID-19 emergency, announced that she will retire at the end of August 2020.
“This has been a challenging and tumultuous period for our County and its residents, and it has been an honor to help lead our workforce in its unprecedented response to COVID-19. While we still have a long way to travel on our road to recovery, our budgetary and public health situation is beginning to stabilize and I believe the time is right for me to continue with the retirement plans I first announced last October,” Hamai said. “I am confident that our Board of Supervisors, along with our department heads and exceptional workforce, will successfully lead Los Angeles County through recovery and into a healthier, more equitable future.
“This week marks my 32nd year of County service. Although the challenges of the current moment are immense, I also reflect proudly on accomplishments during my tenure that have positioned us to meet today’s challenges from a position of fiscal strength—including our strongest-ever credit ratings and substantial investments in our rainy day funds.
“I am so grateful for the opportunity to have served. I will never forget the incredible fellow employees who have partnered with me every step of the way.”
Members of the Board of Supervisors thanked Hamai for her public service—including her decision to postpone her retirement in order to help the County navigate one of the most difficult periods in its recent history.
“I want to thank our CEO Sachi Hamai for her unwavering commitment and dedication to Los Angeles County, most recently evidenced by her willingness to postpone her retirement to help us navigate the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Board of Supervisors Chair Kathryn Barger. “The Board of Supervisors is fortunate to have had Ms. Hamai at the helm of our CEO operations for the last several years. Her leadership and keen fiscal sense, coupled with her collaborative spirit, have greatly benefited Los Angeles County as a whole, and all of our residents and businesses throughout the region.”
“Sachi Hamai has demonstrated steady leadership during this unprecedented moment in the County’s history,” said Board Chair Pro Tem Hilda L. Solis. “She has managed the day-to-day operations of this country’s largest municipal government with singular focus. I thank Sachi for her years of service to our County residents, and in particular, for her dedication these past few months in responding to this public health crisis.”
“CEO Sachi Hamai has been an exceptional leader in moving Los Angeles County forward,” Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said. “Her budgetary acumen, coupled with her commitment to serving the underserved, has enabled us to invest deeply in some of the most important priorities of our time, including justice reform and the fight to end homelessness, while maintaining the fiscal prudence that has earned the County its highest-ever credit ratings. She has been a mentor and role model to a generation of County leaders, including women and people of color, and her legacy as a collaborative, results-oriented CEO will continue to shape the workings of Los Angeles County government well into the future.”
“Every County CEO needs to be a political wizard, a genius with money, and a long-distance runner,” Supervisor Sheila Kuehl said. “Sachi gets an A+ in all three, plus being a mentor and a champion for women and people of color in government leadership. I am so grateful for her more than three decades of service, and can’t imagine the County without her.”
“We owe Sachi Hamai a great debt of gratitude,” said Supervisor Janice Hahn. “Not only did she postpone her hard-earned retirement to guide the County through this unprecedented crisis, her careful stewardship of taxpayer dollars throughout her tenure kept our budget sound and balanced so that the Board’s priorities were always doable. She has been an incredibly effective leader and has accomplished so much for the County’s ten million residents over her 32 years of service.”
The Board has appointed Chief Operating Officer Fesia Davenport to serve as Acting Chief Executive Officer.
L.A. County CEO Sachi A. Hamai Sets 2020 Retirement Date
October 15, 2019 — Los Angeles County Chief Executive Officer Sachi A. Hamai announced she will retire as top administrative leader of the nation’s largest municipal government in early 2020, capping a 31-year career leading innovation and managing solutions to some of the region’s most challenging issues.
Hamai was appointed CEO in 2015, and oversees a County budget of $36.1 billion and a workforce of nearly 113,000.
Her signature accomplishments include strong fiscal management that led to the County’s overall highest credit ratings ever, including a AAA rating from S&P Global Ratings, the highest level possible. Los Angeles County has achieved a total of four credit upgrades under her leadership.
She also replenished the county’s Rainy Day Fund to cushion the blow of future financial downturns. The fund now stands at $600 million.
As CEO, she has led transformation of the County’s governance structure, creating a coordinated, multi-departmental approach to addressing the Board of Supervisors’ key priorities—homelessness, justice reform, healthcare, immigrants’ rights, environmental monitoring, and the safety and wellbeing of children—as well as ad hoc initiatives such as sustainability and the Women and Girls Initiative.
She oversaw the launch of the Homeless Initiative, a broad and unprecedented response to the region’s homelessness crisis, and led implementation of the voter-approved Measure H, which since 2017 has helped move more than 16,000 individuals and families into permanent housing and 31,837 enter crisis, bridge or interim housing.
“It’s been the greatest honor of my life to serve Los Angeles County and its residents,” Hamai said. “The County confronts some of society’s toughest issues every day, often on behalf of people who have nowhere else to turn.
“I believe I am leaving the County in better shape than when I started. Our fiscal foundation is strong, and our departments have broken out of their silos and are working together in ways no one could have imagined in years past. I learned early in my career, through programs I led such as the multi-agency Health Authority Law Enforcement Task Force, that cross-collaboration is absolutely essential to making an impact.
“Clearly, there is plenty of hard work ahead—especially in the area of homelessness—but I am proud to have moved the County forward and positioned it to meet current and future challenges.”
Hamai, the first Asian American woman to serve as L.A. County’s CEO, has championed advancement and leadership opportunities for County employees throughout her career. In 2017, she co-founded WomenLeadLAC as a forum for up-and-coming managers to network with top executives.
She began her County career shortly after graduating from Colorado State University in 1988, moving up through the ranks of departments including Auditor-Controller and Health Services before being named the Executive Officer for the Board of Supervisors in 2006, interim Chief Executive Officer in 2014, and CEO in 2015.
In 2019, Hamai was named one of L.A.’s Top 500 most influential leaders for the fourth consecutive year by the Los Angeles Business Journal. Most recently, Innovate@UCLA announced Hamai as its unanimous choice to receive the 2019 Public Sector Executive Leadership Award. She is also the 2018 winner of the Clarence A. Dykstra Award for Excellence in Government.
She serves on the board of United Way of Greater Los Angeles and is a member of the U.S.-Japan Council.
Hamai is a nature enthusiast who hikes frequently with her canine companion, Oreo. She is also an ardent distance runner, completing her first marathon in 1997 and achieving her personal best in the 2015 Tokyo Marathon.
Her retirement will take effect in early 2020, to allow time for the Board of Supervisors to select a successor.
“I’ve had the opportunity of working closely with ten County Supervisors, and I deeply respect every single one of them,” Hamai said. “They led by example as they advocated and fought for the constituents they were elected to serve. That commitment inspired me, and the County family, to always reach higher and do more.
“Now I am ready to write the next chapter in my professional life, but my heart will always be in public service, and filled with gratitude by the experiences and opportunities that shaped my career with L.A. County.”
LA County adopts nation’s most ambitious regional sustainability plan
This video provides an overview of how the OurCounty Sustainability Plan was developed.
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors today unanimously adopted the OurCounty Sustainability Plan, the boldest, most comprehensive regional approach to sustainability ever issued by a county in the United States.
The plan, drafted over the course of two years with the help of nearly 1,000 community and expert stakeholders from every part of the County, sets forth an ambitious agenda that promises to transform the region in the years and decades ahead.
Recognizing the urgency of existing regional challenges and the climate crisis, the plan aims to uphold the Paris Climate Agreement by creating a fossil-fuel free Los Angeles County within the next three decades. It includes nearly 160 health-focused strategies centering on communities that have been disproportionately affected by environmental pollution for decades.
“At its heart, this plan is both a call to action and a commitment to future generations,” said Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, who, with Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, sponsored the motion to create the County’s Chief Sustainability Office, which led to development of the plan.
“This is our unequivocal statement that climate change is real, and that our County will not stand around waiting for the federal government to wake up and create the policies and programs needed to address it. By taking this leadership role, we are positioning the County to move our region into a greener future and advance the effort to reverse global warming,” Kuehl said.
“Our most marginalized communities have suffered the brunt of impacts from pollution and greenhouse gas emissions for far too long. Today is a new beginning for a sustainable L.A. County,” Solis said. “This plan takes a bold and broad approach to making the County not only more sustainable, but it will also expand economic mobility and improve health outcomes for workers, families and all County residents. We will work with our cities and other partners to implement these goals so that we may realize a more equitable L.A. County for current and future generations.”
Take a 90-second animated tour of the plan’s highlights:
“The OurCounty Sustainability Plan charts a path forward to not only confront climate change and pollution, but to do so in ways that also address other challenges, like traffic, the housing affordability crisis, and longstanding inequality,” said Board of Supervisors Chair Janice Hahn. “We don’t have to choose between clean air and good jobs, or between investing in a greener economy and an economy that works for everyone, or even between preserving local ecosystems and building abundant housing that our residents can afford. These false choices force us to think small when the real solutions are so much bigger.”
“This Sustainability Plan takes a strategic approach to improving the health and quality of life in communities across Los Angeles County,” Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said. “The demand for more affordable housing, well-paying jobs, healthier living, and clean and green transportation are all intertwined. Collectively, we must pursue bold and holistic strategies if we are serious about prioritizing the sustainability of our region.”
Unlike other sustainability plans, the OurCounty plan is unique in its regional focus as it moves to confront a wide range of environmental, social and economic challenges.
Overall, OurCounty proposes to make Los Angeles County a more equitable, prosperous and resilient region in the years ahead. The plan’s goals and milestones include:
- Powering unincorporated areas and County facilities with 100% renewable energy by 2025
- Increasing urban tree canopy coverage by 15% by 2035
- Diverting more than 95% of waste from landfills
- Developing land-use tools to limit new development in high climate-hazard areas
- Phasing out single-use plastic by 2025 to ensure a cleaner ocean and less landfill waste
- Cutting back on imported water by sourcing 80 percent of water locally by 2045
- Ensuring that all residents have safe and clean drinking water, and that rivers, lakes and the ocean meet federal water quality standards
- Leading efforts to make sure that at least 65% of new housing is built within 1/2 mile of high frequency transit by 2035
- Supporting construction of more than half a million affordable housing units by 2045 to improve public health and community sustainability
The County will not be making these changes alone, but in concert with the region’s cities and residents.
“Our future depends not just on the County’s actions, but also on the 88 cities of Los Angeles County stepping up to the plate to collectively help achieve the strategic plan’s vision for sustainability,” said Chief Executive Officer Sachi A. Hamai. “We look forward to building and growing these partnerships as we work toward common goals on behalf of all the communities we serve.”
Gary Gero, the County’s Chief Sustainability Officer, credited the many groups and individuals who brought unique perspectives to the plan.
“Before a word of the plan was written, we undertook an in-depth public engagement process that recruited groups who do not typically focus on environmental issues to fully participate as architects of the plan,” Gero said. “The results were remarkable, and we are so grateful to all who participated. As a result of their efforts, Los Angeles County will be guided by an equity-centered document with nearly all the content born out of community ideas about what a sustainable region should be.”
The County’s Chief Sustainability Office is charged with overseeing implementation of the plan and will report annually on progress. Keep up with the progress or download a copy of the plan here.
As homelessness rises, Los Angeles County’s homeless services network expands and mobilizes
The results of the Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count are out, showing a 12% rise in homelessness—even as an expanded homeless services system is making unprecedented strides in providing housing and help. Find out what’s driving the numbers and meet some of those who’ve been helped in this short video. For more information about the 2019 Homeless Count, click here. To learn more about the County's efforts to combat and prevent homelessness, visit homeless.lacounty.gov.
Painted ladies pay a visit to the Arboretum
As swarms of butterflies make their way north, the L.A. County Arboretum has proven to be a good spot to rest and fatten up on plant nectar. Horticulturist Bryan Burks takes us through the gardens where there are still a few Vanessa cardui to be found. To plan your visit to the Arboretum, click here.
Thinking Outside the Box to Address Homelessness
After a call for proposals to create game-changing creative and scalable permanent housing solutions for those experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles County, five winners were awarded $4.5 million in Measure H funding to bring these projects to reality. The Housing Innovation Challenge has made four awards at the $1 million level and one at the $500,000 level for faster, cost-effective construction/rehabilitation and/or creative finance models to produce permanent housing for the County’s most vulnerable residents.
At a time of heightened collaboration in the region, this effort was designed to activate stakeholders and creative strategists across the region to contribute sustainable solutions to homelessness. The Challenge received more than 50 proposals, which were evaluated by a panel of experts in urban planning, real estate development, affordable housing and architecture. Each awarded project will result in the production of permanent housing for homeless families or individuals in Los Angeles County.
“Everyone who calls Los Angeles home should live in communities that afford them dignity and worth,” Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said. “These novel yet practical solutions will allow the County and its private sector partners to scale up compassion and innovation in a thoughtful manner. This is truly Measure H at work!”
The funded projects are:
- Brooks + Scarpa Architects, Inc. – NEST: A Prefab Modular, Sustainable Kit of Parts that can be assembled on any typical 50 x 150 parcel ($1 million)
- Flyaway Homes, LLC – Modular Permanent Supportive Housing Communities, to scale their model of leveraging private equity to develop supportive housing faster and at ¼ the cost per person ($1 million)
- LifeArk, SPC – LifeArk Micro-Communities, a kit-of-parts building system that is developable on any lot size or shape ($1 million)
- United Dwelling – Detached Garage Conversion into Affordable Studios, for its institutional development of beautifully-designed garage-converted Accessory Dwelling Units ($ 1 million)
- Restore Neighborhoods Los Angeles – South LA Bungalow Project for its neighborhood shared equity model for accessible units built by-right in a traditional bungalow style courtyard ($500,000)
“The Challenge was issued at a critical juncture in the Countywide movement to combat and prevent homelessness,” said Phil Ansell, Director, L.A. County Homeless Initiative. “While our collective efforts are moving in the right direction, this was a unique opportunity to solicit new approaches and continue to advance our efforts to help people move from homelessness to housing.”
Learn more at housinginnovationchallenge.com.
Brooks + Scarpa
Confronting the Woolsey Fire—and preparing for the future
The Woolsey Fire started on November 8, 2018 and burned for 13 days before it was contained. This was an unprecedented, fast-moving brush fire, 14 miles wide, with a footprint of 150 square miles, driven by gusts of up to 70 mph—the most destructive fire L.A. County has ever seen. Three canyons were affected and 70,000 homes, businesses and other structures lay in the fire’s path. A quarter of a million people were evacuated.
Approximately 800 L.A. County firefighters were deployed to the fire, along with some 3,000 firefighters from dozens of agencies around the United States.
As the fire grew, the priority for first responders was life safety and evacuations. The Department was constantly assessing the fire, weather conditions, and topography to identify the most threatened areas where lives and critical structures were at risk so they could most effectively fight the fire. As a result of their strategic deployment of resources, there was minimal loss of life.
As the fire became contained, power lines, poles, fallen trees, rocks that had fallen onto roads, massive amounts of debris, and other hazards needed to be cleared or repaired before evacuees could safely return home.
As Los Angeles County Fire Chief Daryl L. Osby has noted, we have entered in a new era of firefighting. Because of 7 years of drought which has created an environment of explosive brush, and a larger number of buildings in high-risk areas, firefighting is more difficult and much more hazardous to our firefighters.
Given these new dangers and new realities, it is also extremely important for residents to sign up for and heed emergency alerts and evacuation orders. Preserving human life is, and must remain, our foremost priority.
Los Angeles County is preparing for this “new normal." Within weeks of the start of the Woolsey Fire, the L.A. County Board of Supervisors voted to conduct an assessment of current fire-fighting staff, equipment and facilities so we are ready for what the future will bring.