Barger, who appointed herself in October to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority Commission, said she has pinpointed where bureaucracy slowed progress, including in hiring and getting money to cities for programs; improved accountability of the homeless services system through better data collection; and backed construction of thousands of housing units in the 5th District, including affordable housing with integrated social services where needed.
“In situations where we have made the housing and services available to individuals experiencing homelessness, we must incorporate enforcement into our response. This response can be, and should be, compassionate, and only implemented after offers of housing and services are made available,” Barger said, noting she has increased funding for homeless outreach teams who help unhoused people when their encampments are being removed from areas deemed unsafe or inhibiting business.
The use of enforcement is where Barger differed from at least one candidate.
Anthony, who said he was homeless for six weeks before he was elected to office in Burbank, said law enforcement should not be involved in homeless services.
“No amount of enforcement will ever create new housing or increase services,” Anthony said.
Instead, he said, L.A. County must increase pay and lower job qualifications to hire more social workers, including those in training; use tax dollars more wisely to build more outpatient behavioral health facilities; and incentivize building 500,000 housing units, including three- and four-bedroom units through tax abatement.
The heart of Goldberg’s plan is to build thousands of “water-smart small farms” amid the 400,000 acres of privately owned dormant land in the Antelope Valley, supplying residents there with both a job and a tiny home.
“By dramatically expanding the housing supply, my plan will drive down the cost of existing housing elsewhere thanks to supply and demand. Thus, the government will not need to spend money on subsidies and will not need to override the market dynamics,” Goldberg said.
Marroquin, a human trafficking survivor who has been homeless, said L.A. County “should be harnessing advanced machine learning to intelligently analyze homelessness data, leading to smarter and more cost-effective strategies.” He said he would also bring his lived experience to the job. “Those cold, hard steps were my bed,” Marroquin said of where he slept at 18, “but they also became the foundation of my empathy and commitment to those facing homelessness today.”
Holden said his approach as supervisor would be to expand mental health care, supportive housing — where residents are regularly seen by social workers at their homes — and job training for unhoused residents.
“I’ll lock arms with Mayor Karen Bass and work with her to rapidly house those living on our streets and prevent more families from falling into homelessness,” Holden said. “We need to ensure that every sector of our workforce has stable incomes and the financial security needed to thrive in our county.”