Robert Fox on Homelessness

Posted by Robert Fox for Long Beach on Thursday, February 13, 2020
Robert Fox on Homelessness

Pragmatic Steps to take to end Homelessness

Before we start talking about practical solutions, the City needs to hire mental health professionals and social service professionals to do the initial and continuum of care contact with the Homeless. Without these experts, we will not be able to affect any substantive change. We need an Academy for Grant Writing and Grant supervision. ( these are single line audit grants, and every dollar must be appropriately accounted for in order to maintain the grants) I did this kind of work on the board of the LBGTQ Center.

1.) Certify the beds we already have as required by law to match the Homeless Yearly Count, 1895. This supposedly allows for the police or social services to pick up the homeless, take them to our triage center, The Multi-Service Center for the Homeless on 12th St. off of Anaheim. Our Health Care Director says we still can’t pick anyone up. Investigation needed.

2.) Create a Downtown Triage Center for the Homeless, (perhaps on the parking lot at Pacific and 3rd St, which the City owns) The Homeless will not walk all the way to the MSC.

3.) Have vans that go back and forth from the MSC to the Downtown Triage Center at least twice a day. We have one van, and a few cars supposedly.

4.) Increase the number of and the length of stay of our immediate housing program. ( $100.00 per night paid to motels adjacent to the MSC to house the homeless)

5.) Make an immediate connection for each client with LAHSA (The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority) In this way we sign people up for housing on the first contact, not waiting for 6 months to pass. Police are our first contact and they don’t have the training to do this. We need social service workers now.

6.) Complete the Transitional Housing Construction we have started on Long Beach Blvd. Begin the purchase and conversion of cheap motels into transitional housing. There will be rehab costs and costs for service of course. These are all grant-funded. (We desperately need grant writers and grant supervisors)

7.) Complete the Low-Income housing program construction which we partnered with Link, a non-profit, on Long Beach Blvd. Refund the Community Development Housing Fund. ( $0.00 now)

8.) Integrate all services which serve the homeless into a large database, so we can coordinate services. We have no comprehensive data site, so no one knows what facilities or services we have. ( Example, Corliss Lee has spent 3 years with Jerry trying to get him living space, and to this day he still is not in permanent housing. This is a system failure of extraordinary magnitude)

9.) Reform the MSC so we have more than a couple of people up there serving the Homeless. This must be a priority in the budget. Hire more staff, and open it up 24/7. The Health Department disagrees. We need to convince them that this is the only solution. And we must reform the hours. 9-12 then kick everyone out then back open from 1 till 4. Inadequate, mean spirited and ineffective. We need a complete overhaul.

10.) Outreach to more Homeless housing providers to increase our bed stock. Drugs and Alcohol are not relevant at this time. We have to accept people exactly the way they are if we are to make progress here. Once in service, they can address those additional issues. We need to reinstate the triad approach with a police officer, a social worker and a mental health provider to meet the homeless on first contact. The percentage of success increases immediately.