New Regional Homelessness Advisory Council (RHAC) to Coordinate Countywide Homeless Policy (2)

Los Angeles has a joint county-city agency to oversee the battle to end homelessness: the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA). The intractability of the problem led city and county authorities at the beginning of 2016 to look for a format that would expand LAHSA's connections to the many players in the city and county whose influence or expertise can contribute to solving the homeless crisis.

These include mental health services, hospitals and clinics, the police, churches, businesses, schools, and the many public nonprofit and charitable groups that provide services of many kinds.

 Both the city and county late last year developed detailed plans for combatting homelessness. Seeing the need for input from the myriad organizations outside of LAHSA, it was decided to create a 52-member Regional Homelessness Advisory Council, to be convened by LAHSA in collaboration with Home for Good, a multi-agency program run by the United Way.

The RHAC is to meet quarterly, and in turn select a smaller subcommittee, the Los Angeles Continuum of Care Board, to directly advise LAHSA on a more regular basis. The Los Angeles Continuum of Care is the whole of Los Angeles County except for Glendale, Pasadena, and Long Beach, which make their own arrangements on urban policy.

RHAC membership is to be very broad. It will have one representative each from major city departments such as Housing, Economic Development, the city Administrative Officer, and LAPD. The county will be heavily represented, with reps from the departments of Mental Health, Health Services, and Public Health, Children and Family Services, Public Social Services, as well as the Probation and Sheriff's departments.

Three seats will go to business organizations, two to faith-based groups, and two to philanthropic funders. Education will have representatives from LAUSD, UCLA, USC, and the LA Community College District. Two formerly homeless people will serve on RHAC.

Finally, each of the County's 8 Service Planning Areas (SPAs) will have one representative, except for SPA4, which includes Skid Row, which will have 2.

Selections of representatives are going on now. The 8 SPAs mostly have coalitions of service providers and concerned people. They elected their representatives in November. The SPA6 Homeless Coalition elected Marion Sanders, Senior Manager for Community Services and Evaluation at HOPICS. The RHAC is supposed to have its first meeting in February 2017. It will choose the smaller LA Continuum of Care Board in April and May, and the LA CoC Board will begin to work with LAHSA in June.