What is the City of West Hollywood doing to address the homelessness issue, an issue that is affecting all of Los Angeles County? WEHOville reached out to City Hall for an answer. This article is the fourth and final in a series outlining how City Hall sees the homelessness issue and what it is doing about it.
In the first article, which can be seen here, the city explains the complexity of the situation and puts it in the context of the principles on which the City of West Hollywood was founded. The second article, which can be seen here, describes the work down by the city’s Human Services & Rent Stabilization Department, which includes the Housing & Rent Stabilization and Social Services divisions. Both play important roles in the city’s Homeless Initiative. The third article explains efforts by the city’s Public Safety Department and the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station to deal with issues involving homelessness. Today, the city explains the work by the West Hollywood Library and its engagement with the Chamber of Commerce’s Homelessness Committee and local businesses on the homeless issue.
Economic Development Department and the Business Community
City staff works closely with the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce’s Homelessness Committee to maintain an ongoing dialogue regarding the impacts of homelessness on the business community. City staff, social services providers and public safety agencies (including Sheriff’s and Block by Block) also respond to requests from the business community to help address impacts of homeless on a site-by-site basis.
Members of the Chamber’s Homelessness Committee have toured some of the service provider locations, and have begun to engage in creative partnerships to support the work of those homeless services providers by speaking at career information programs, providing meals, clothing and toiletries for the clients of those agencies.
Economic Development and the West Hollywood Library
The Economic Development Department oversees the city’s relationship with the West Hollywood Library, operated by Los Angeles County. After some discussion with library and city staff regarding interventions to address the impacts of homeless at the library, a pilot program was launched in October of 2016 to provide on-site service delivery at the library,
The library project is a strategic collaboration between the city, the County of Los Angeles Public Library and the city’s contracted providers, including Ascencia, Step Up on Second, the L.A. LGBT Center, Safe Refuge, Friends Community Center and Tarzana Treatment Centers.
The organizations are providing on-site outreach Monday through Friday, which provides a connection to services and support. All participating agencies are nonprofit organizations with deep experience in providing targeted services to people who are homeless, including LGBT youth and people who have mental health needs and/or substance use issues. In addition to providing a connection to a continuum of services from within their own organizations, the providers also have the ability to make referrals to other needed services and programs.
The hours of service at the West Hollywood Library are:
— Mondays — Ascencia, 1 to 3 p.m.;
— Tuesdays — LA LGBT Center (Youth Services and Mental Health Services), 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.;
— Wednesdays — Safe Refuge, 10:30 a.m to 12:30 p.m.;
— Thursdays — Step Up on Second, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.; and
— Fridays — Friends Community Center or Tarzana Treatment Centers, 10:30 a.m. to noon.
Meetings and discussions continue with library staff and the providers about how the project is working for them and how we can most effectively leverage resources, and adjustments are made as needed. Having a stable, private, brick and mortar location has been vital to the providers in allowing them to conduct in-depth assessments and intakes. Seeing success in linking community members to needed services, the program has continued.