With new funding starting to flow in from voter-approved Measure H, service agencies throughout Los Angeles County are busy training new hires as efforts ramp up to provide more outreach for the homeless.
Measure H approved a quarter-cent sales tax increase across the county to fund anti-homelessness measures.
The 35-hour training courses, being held at different locations over the next couple months, will unleash more workers needed to do outreach and enroll homeless individuals in programs providing mental health, housing, addiction treatment and other services. They are co-sponsored through additional grants from United Way of Greater Los Angeles with training being provided by Homeless Health Care. The Measure H funds come through the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority.
The first course, a five-day session that ended Tuesday, was held for the South Bay/Harbor Area at the Carson Civic Center for about 25 new workers who will join in the effort. Other sessions will be held in March in the Antelope Valley, in April in the San Gabriel Valley, in May in the San Fernando Valley and in June in Metro Los Angeles.
With tax revenue from Measure H going into effect in October 2017, organizations such as Harbor Interfaith Services are expected to as much as double their staffing to help on the front lines of the battle against homelessness, one of the region’s top priorities, according to Devin Desjarlais, director of communications for the United Way.
An estimated 1,000 positions have been added because of the measure.
“We’re really ramping up quickly,” said Emily Bradley, program officer for United Way’s Home For Good Initiative, adding that outreach teams are being quadrupled in same cases.
The jobs span the spectrum, Bradley said, and include people with master’s degrees, social work backgrounds and peer experiences that can be helpful for homeless individuals making the transition.to services and housing.
“Thanks to Measure H, homeless service providers in L.A. County are now able to scale at an unprecedented rate. It’s our job to ensure that this growing network of providers has the key information and long-term support needed to work efficiently and effectively,” said Peter Lynn, executive director of the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, in a written statement.
On Thursday, a second building funded by the city of Los Angeles’ Proposition HHH — the housing companion to Measure H — will break ground in downtown Los Angeles. The building, called Six Four Nine Lofts, is being built by Skid Row Housing Trust and will include 55 units of supporting housing for the homeless.