Homelessness is one of the most pressing, difficult issues facing Los Angeles these days, and all neighborhoods are affected. The Oaks Neighborhood Association has been speaking with our council district representatives and with those of neighboring CD13 for years about the encampments in our area, and it does seem that progress is being made placing people into housing, one encampment at a time.
And that is what Councilmember Nithya Raman told our community at the recent Oaks Neighborhood Association Town Hall Meeting: that her office was taking “two steps forward and a half a step back” in terms of clearing encampments and getting unhoused people into permanent housing.
Certainly, we have seen these efforts paying off on Franklin and Canyon where it seems the last person to be housed accepted permanent housing as of February 8th and the encampment and belongings were cleared. We also have our Field Deputy Joseph Siroky to thank for that.
When asked how we can help and who residents should call when they see someone who is clearly in mental distress, the Councilmember responded that there is a real shortage of case workers who specialize in mental illness, with only one team for all of the San Fernando Valley, our area and Skid Row. The program (called CIRCLE) is designed to reduce interactions between law enforcement and unhoused Angelenos by deploying trained crisis response teams and proactive outreach.
Hopefully, these programs and resources will soon be increased as the LA County Board of Supervisors just approved a $600 Million budget for homeless initiatives, including programs designed to boost mental health and substance abuse services.