ENDING HOMELESSNESS - HOUSING FIRST
The United States has over 550,000 sleeping on the streets on any given night, with 20% of that number being children. Close to 50,000 people live on the streets of Los Angeles County, while around 25,000 live in the city of Los Angeles, and up to 10,000 of that number live in Downtown Los Angeles (majority in Skid Row). Most of those living on the streets of Los Angeles are African American (about 40%) but only represent 9% of the county. It is an embarrassment that as the wealthiest nation on earth, we have some of the highest levels of homelessness among industrialized nations.
We can help and treat the symptoms of homelessness as much as we can but we must tackle the root causes.
The #1 cause for homelessness is that people cannot afford a home to live in. 1 out of every 5 families in our District of Los Angeles lives in poverty and rent is starting to move up to $2,000 a month, all the way up to $4,000 a month with the median gross rent of $3,700 a month. In addition, many of those experiencing chronic homelessness are veterans and people with mental illnesses or substance abuse issues.
Housing as a Right, Homeless Programs, and Healthcare Reform go hand-in-hand with prevent and treating Homelessness. There is no one solution to treating homelessness and we must be open in helping those living on the streets, especially the children.
PREVENT HOMELESSNESS: HOUSING AS A RIGHT
The #1 cause for homelessness is not having enough affordable and low-income housing. As part of our "Housing is a Right" Platform, we will work to build more affordable and low-income housing units, stop gentrification, enact universal rent control of 3% per year, stop illegal evictions, preserve renter's rights, and provide assistance for homeowners (first-time and underwater). Other ways we can prevent homelessness and fighting poverty in general are increasing the minimum wage to $15 nationally, providing guaranteed healthcare through a single payer system, providing quality public education as a right, and guaranteeing a job for anyone willing to work.
END CHRONIC HOMELESSNESS
According to the Housing of Urban Development (HUD), a Chronically Homeless Individual refers to an individual with a disability who has been continuously homeless for 1 year or more or has experienced at least four episodes of homelessness in the last 3 years where the combined length of time homeless in those occasions is at least 12 months. To end chronic homelessness, we will work to provide more permanent supportive housing units which has proven to be a cost-effective solution (saving over $10,000 per person) to ending chronic homelessness. Permanent supportive housing is a program designed to provide housing (project and tenant-based) and supportive services on a long-term basis to formerly homeless people. We would also push to allow the homeless to take part in the decision making process in finding solutions for their short and long-term situations.
FAMILIES, WOMEN, CHILDREN, & VICTIMS
We will work to provide more new rapid re-housing capacity to prevent and end homelessness for families with children. Rapid Rehousing is a housing model designed to provide temporary housing assistance to people experiencing homelessness, moving them quickly out of homelessness and into permanent housing. We also work to provide more Transitional Housing Programs to provide services and housing for homeless victims of domestic violence, dating violence, and sexual assault who require an emergency transfer from their current assisted housing into permanent housing away from their abusers.
We would work to ensure access to emergency shelters without barriers for families, unaccompanied youth, and women and also create more drop-in centers for unsheltered homeless individuals.
We would work to create more Basic Centers for the runaway youth that would create temporary emergency shelters, food, clothing and referrals for health care. In addition, we'd work to provide family counseling, recreation programs, and aftercare services for youth once they leave the shelter. We'd also work to build on the Street Outreach Program which provides educational and prevention services to run away and street youth who have been subject to, or are at risk of, sexual exploitation or abuse. The program works to establish and build relationships between youth and program outreach staff in order to help youth get off the streets.
HEALTHCARE FOR THE HOMELESS
We will work to provide Health Care for the Homeless by providing healthcare as a right for anyone and everyone in the United States without bias or discrimination. This would help the homeless community by providing substance abuse treatment, emergency care/services, and outreach services to assist difficult-to-reach people experiencing homelessness in accessing healthcare.
We will work to ensure that drug abuse or mental health issues are not treated criminally but rather with an understanding that rehabilitation is needed. We will also work to enable communities to expand and strengthen their treatment services for individuals experiencing homelessness with substance abuse disorders, mental illness, or co-occurring substance abuse disorders and mental illness.
EDUCATION AND JOB TRAINING
We will work to provide educational opportunities such as quality public education for high school students and tuition-free public college & university for those wanting to attend college. In addition, we will work to provide a guaranteed job program for those transitioning out of homelessness and back into the workforce.
We will work to ensure that there is adequate funding for housing and care on the Federal, State, and local levels to end Veteran homelessness. We would work with Supportive Services for Veterans Families to provide rapid re-housing and homelessness prevention programs and clinical services to support the 50,000 homeless Veterans nationwide. We would also work to provide guaranteed jobs and assistance for housing to Veterans coming back home from duty.