LA County seeking public input on homelessness crisis

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (KABC) -- Local residents gathered at a Santa Monica church on Tuesday to talk about the homeless crisis. The session at St. Monica Catholic Church was one of eight meetings hosted by the Los Angeles County Homeless Initiative and L.A. Homeless Services Authority.

They're community listening sessions. And these residents came to express their own ideas on how to deal with the growing problem of homelessness.

"I believe that we should have mandatory rehab for these people and provide them with the necessary services that they need," said Kalani Whittington, a Palms resident.

Los Angeles County voters in 2017 approved Measure H - an increase in the sales tax to raise hundreds of millions of dollars to provide housing and other services for the homeless.

During these meetings the county wants to hear from residents on how the money should be spent.

Palms resident William Keith says "people 24 to 67 that might experience homelessness, to prevent them from becoming homeless. And also to identify programs that are experiencing mental health or substance abuse - we can get them services and housing. After they get that they can maintain the housing."

Meredith Berkson with the L.A. Homeless Services Authority says "the intention is all of this will go into informing the funding allocation process, both for the county Measure H and also for LAHSA's allocation of the state money."

Many residents here are frustrated. In their view, not much is being done with the millions of Measure H money.

Olga Zurawska of Santa Monica says, "I want them to know that the services being provided by our tax dollars are not working. The system is broken."

The final report from all of these meetings is due before the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors next May.
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