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LA City Council Exploring How to Boost Permanent Housing for the Homeless

Less than 6 percent of LA’s housing vouchers resulted in permanent housing last year

Los Angeles City Council voted on Friday to explore ways of speeding up the process of matching recipients of housing vouchers with potential housing options. Delays in matching voucher recipients with housing have been one of the biggest obstacles in providing permanent housing for those who are homeless, according to a motion by Councilwoman Nithya Raman.

Last July, only 6 percent of the 3,365 vouchers awarded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development resulted in people moving into permanent housing. The city’s housing authority also returned $82 million in federal grants from HUD back to the agency between 2015 and 2020. However, earlier this month, Los Angeles received $60 million in funding from HUD which is expected to be used on housing vouchers, along with providing deep wraparound services and housing navigation.

Raman’s motion states that around 40 percent of initial voucher matches don’t result in a lease. The motion suggests that the city’s housing authority should match multiple clients to each voucher instead of waiting for individual matches to play out before another unit is made available. This would help reduce the backlog where voucher recipients have to wait for individual matches.

The council has called on the Los Angeles Homelessness Services Authority to help report within 30 days on how it will address delays in the voucher process. It recommended that the housing authority adjust its procedures so that it can match multiple clients to each voucher, consolidate processes and be more flexible in rent negotiations.

This move comes as homelessness continues to rise across California due to high rents and low vacancy rates. According to a recent report by HUD, California has more than a quarter of all homeless individuals across America. The state has seen an increase in homelessness since 2019 despite efforts by lawmakers and community organizations alike.

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