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COALITION FORMING TO HELP HOMELESS.

Byline: Jason Kosareff and James Nash Staff Writers

With nearly 85,000 people sleeping on Los Angeles County streets every night, a coalition of homeless advocates and government leaders plans to launch a yearlong effort in April to end homelessness within a decade.

The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority is organizing a committee of 50 elected officials and homeless advocates to devise a set of recommendations on ways to end homelessness. Political and nonprofit organizations would then be asked to help implement them.

``In order for the 10-year plan to take place, everyone is going to have to be on board with it,'' said Gilbert Saldate of the Los Angeles Coalition to End Hunger and Homelessness and the Pomona Continuum of Care Coalition. He is also a candidate for the committee, to be headed by Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn and a county supervisor.

The authority estimates that 84,300 people are homeless in the county on any given night, or 236,000 over the course of the year. About half live in Los Angeles, and of those, 8,000 to 12,000 live in the San Fernando Valley, according to the nonprofit L.A. Family Housing Corp.

LAHSA, a joint-powers partnership between the city of Los Angeles and the county with a $43 million budget, will team up with the Coalition to End Hunger and Homelessness for the plan.

Hundreds of experts will be consulted, but the focus is on housing, which is in critically short supply, said Mitchell Netburn, executive director for the authority.

That would require cities to buy into the program in a major way. Netburn sees two positive signs on the horizon.

-- Los Angeles is creating a $100 million housing trust that Hahn wants to use to build more homes for low-income residents.

--Voters last year passed Proposition 46, a $2 billion bond measure that devotes a large portion of money to building homeless shelters and low- income housing.

John Horn, director of programs and social services for L.A. Family Housing, which is based in North Hollywood and operates a shelter there, said his hopes are lifted by the unprecedented coalition of politicians and community leaders that LAHSA plans to assemble.

``A lot of people have talked about things but the resources have not always been there. (Ending homelessness) is realistic if the resources are provided to make it happen.''

Chief among the prerequisites, Horn said, is more public funding of housing.

Saldate added the plan can be sold to local politicians because it's backed by the federal government. Chicago and New York are kicking off similar plans.

Long Beach, Pasadena and Glendale are the only cities in the county that do not fall under the jurisdiction of LAHSA, because those cities apply directly to HUD for money to fund a ``continuum of care,'' a program that takes people off the streets and into emergency shelters, then into permanent housing. Those cities are working to devise their own 10-year plans, Netburn said.

The plan also makes use of hundreds of groups providing services to the homeless throughout the county. Faith-based groups, homeless shelters, charities and advocacy groups would be unified under the plan, Netburn said.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Statistical Data Included
Date:Mar 9, 2003
Words:531
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