West Hollywood Homeless Initiative
The West Hollywood Homeless Initiative seeks to address homelessness with a multi-disciplinary, multi-agency, collaborative response. To that end, the City of West Hollywood partners closely with nonprofit service providers, the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station, and Los Angeles County agencies to provide a wide variety of services intended to reduce homelessness and support community members who are experiencing homelessness.
The City of West Hollywood’s Five Year Plan to Address Homelessness in Our Community organizes the City's guiding principles and measurable goals to address homelessness locally and regionally.
Resources for Community Members
Watch this short video to see, hear and learn from homeless outreach staff who provide services directly to people experiencing homelessness in West Hollywood:
What We Are Doing to Address Homelessness
In 2017, West Hollywood voters and the City supported the passage of County Measure H, the Los Angeles County quarter-cent sales tax measure to raise funds for homeless services. Measure H funds supported the development of the City's plan.
The City allocates $5M annually towards social services to support the West Hollywood community. Approximately $1.2 million funds agencies with a specific focus on homelessness. Funding supports a wide range of services, including street outreach, temporary shelter, substance abuse treatment, health care, mental health services, permanent housing opportunities, and more.
Between 2016 and 2019, the City of West Hollywood’s Homeless Initiative achieved positive results in collaboration with grant-funded community partners, including the following highlights:
- Ascencia has housed 50 people who were formerly homeless in West Hollywood and Step Up On Second has housed 28 individuals, for a total of 78 people successfully placed into permanent housing. This includes chronically homeless community members who are impacted by severe and persistent mental illness, which make the barriers and challenges in bringing people into service and housing even greater;
- The LA LGBT Center’s Youth Center has provided emergency shelter and transitional living services for West Hollywood-affiliated youth, including 9,255 bed nights for 87 unduplicated youth. The Center's newly established Culinary Arts Training program will serve 38 youth annually, jump starting careers in the restaurant service industry.
- A total of 381 West Hollywood residents accessed City of West Hollywood rental assistance programs through NCJW/LA and the Alliance for Housing and Healing, enabling them to remain in their rental housing in West Hollywood and preventing them from falling into homelessness;
- Tarzana Treatment Center and Safe Refuge provided detox and residential treatment to at least 22 unduplicated West Hollywood community members who were homeless and McIntyre House’s assisted 35 West Hollywood clients with housing and treatment of which 18 had become homeless due to their substance abuse; and
- Housing Works provided housing retention services and support to 30 individuals who were formerly homeless in West Hollywood who have been housed through the City’s allocated Continuum of Care vouchers through the Housing Authority of the County of Los Angeles (HACoLA) or through the Housing Authority of City of Los Angeles (HACLA).
On May 2, 2016, the West Hollywood City Council adopted a resolution to partner with Los Angeles County and support the LA County Homeless Initiative. The City actively participated in the development of LA County’s Strategies to Combat Homelessness, which includes 47 strategies aimed to attack the root causes of homelessness and lift thousands of people out of homelessness and into better lives.
In 2017, the City also supported Measure H, the Los Angeles County quarter-cent sales tax measure approved by County voters to raise funds for homeless services. Measure H funds were used to develop the City of West Hollywood’s Five Year Plan to Address Homelessness in Our Community.
For community members at risk of homelessness, the City of West Hollywood funds rental assistance programs coordinated through the National Council of Jewish Women and Alliance for Housing & Healing. In addition, the City funds a program through Jewish Free Loan that is available for rental assistance or other expenses to prevent someone from losing their housing.
The City also works with several agencies, including Jewish Family Services, the LA LGBT Center, and Housing Works, to provide case management and other services to keep at-risk households housed whenever possible.
Funding from the City of West Hollywood empowers local nonprofit organizations to provide direct street outreach services for homeless community members. Outreach staff work directly with homeless residents in West Hollywood to connect them to shelter, substance abuse treatment, health care, mental health services, and housing opportunities. The outreach teams also provide assistance such as food and hygiene kits, blankets, socks, and other emergency supplies.
The City of West Hollywood’s Homeless Initiative also provides on-site outreach and services at West Hollywood Library during weekdays. For more information about services provided and drop-in hours at the library, click here.
Many homeless people struggle with substance abuse and mental illness. These issues can be a cause of homelessness, but they can also arise or be made worse as a result of losing housing.
The City of West Hollywood funds 12-step groups, substance abuse counseling, residential substance abuse recovery, and prevention education and information campaigns. The Social Services Division also works closely with the Public Safety Department to link West Hollywood community members who were previously homeless to residential substance abuse treatment facilities like Tarzana Treatment Center and Awakening Recovery. The City's homeless street outreach services also include linkages to care and substance recovery services when needed.
In addition, the City supports the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the Department of Mental Health Mental Evaluation Teams (MET). Each MET team consists of a deputy sheriff and a licensed mental health clinician and is trained to provide mental health support, field crisis intervention, and appropriate psychiatric placement for homeless individuals suffering from mental illness. MET also performs in-service training for de-escalation, crisis negotiations during major incidents, averting use of force, and reducing incarceration of mentally ill consumers.
City-funded partners also provide street based mental health services, such as Step Up on Second's Multi-Interdisciplinary Team (MIT) program. The MIT team is comprised of a psychiatrist, registered nurse, licensed clinical social worker, and an alcohol and drug counselor. Their primary focus is connecting the "hardest to reach" homeless community members to services.
The City is funding a number of job training programs for homeless and housed job seekers, including JVS WeHo Works and two programs at the Los Angeles LGBT Center: (1) Youth Services and (2) Transgender Economic Empowerment Project. Collectively, these programs support individuals to land first jobs or make career changes.
The City of West Hollywood works collaboratively with the Sheriff's Department to address criminal behavior engaged in by homeless individuals, while also recognizing that some homelessness community members are vulnerable and can be easily victimized. To promote safety for all, the City contracts for a Community Oriented Policing and Problem Solving (COPPS) Team. The COPPS team works to link homeless community members with services, while also enforcing the law when necessary.