Larchmont neighbors have been working with CD13’s outreach team to get assistance for two unhoused gentlemen who have been spending time on the street over the past few weeks. We’ve heard from several readers asking what can be done to help these men, both of whom seem to need medical assistance.
CD13 Outreach Coordinator Patrick Mooney and his deputy for this area, Kylie Jensen, have connected outreach teams to the two individuals. Wednesday, we heard that an outreach team from the People of Concern was on the street starting the process.
Gary Gilbert, Windsor Square resident and GWNC board member, told the Buzz he has been actively engaged with one person attempting to better the unfortunate situation. Gilbert said he has also been in regular contact with CD13 staff. Unfortunately, the progress is very slow since there are very limited options for housing and removing a single person off the street.
In case you are wondering what you can do to help, we have reposted Mooney’s answer from an interview we did with him in June.
Mooney said at that time that there are two steps people should take to report a new encampment in their neighborhood or someone on the street who needs services.
First, he said, it’s best to contact him, Kylie Jensen or Michael Batistick at the CD 13 office, so they can add the encampment to their map and start making contact. At the same time, though, it’s also good to file an initial report with the LA County Homeless Outreach Program through its website at https://www.lahsa.org/portal/apps/la-hop/request.
During the first two weeks after receiving a request, Mooney said, both a CD 13 deputy and someone from LA-HOP will visit the individual or encampment to meet the resident(s), learn their names, and find out whether or not they are already connected to any city or county services. (And if they can’t find the person, Mooney said, they’ll try at least two more times before closing out the request.)
Mooney said the CD 13 approach starts with something called Motivational Intervention (or “MI” for short), which offers options to the person in need instead of dictating any sort of action. This approach, Mooney said, builds trust by allowing the individual to make their own choices about shelter and services, which helps them feel empowered instead of coerced, and thus more likely to accept a specific approach.
Finally, Mooney noted that it’s common for neighbors to report an issue more than once if they don’t see something happening right away, or for multiple neighbors to report an encampment, hoping it will create additional urgency and lead to faster action. Unfortunately, though, Mooney said that doesn’t really help. Just one report to the city, and one to the County, is enough to get the ball rolling, while 10 separate reports from 10 separate people can just bog down the intake system.
Keep in mind, that it takes time for the city’s process to play out and for progress to be visible.
Mooney explained the general time. For the first week or two after a report comes in, both CD 13 and LA-HOP make their initial visits – sometimes several of them – to assess the situation and start building trust with the individual(s) in question, which can take a while.
Also, even if and when a person does accept an offer of shelter or other services, Mooney said there is currently a huge shortage of shelter beds, and it can take a while to find an appropriate placement – so even if the person is willing to relocate, it doesn’t mean an immediate move off the street. (Currently, Mooney said, CD 13 has 400 temporary housing units, and 300 crisis beds for 3,000 unhoused people…and at the moment, only one of those beds is empty, with a match already pending.) The goal, Mooney said, is not just to get people off a particular street corner, but to get them into stable, long-term housing to keep them off the street for good, rather than just moving them from place to place.
In the meantime, while these processes play out, Mooney said both city and county staff continue to visit the site and stay in touch, attempting to get the person food and documentation if they need it, and doing things like scheduling trash pickups at the site, either once or regularly.
Mooney said this kind of careful, cooperative process helps to avoid further traumatizing people who have often suffered too many broken promises and do not trust the city or its systems. Taking a slower, more cooperative approach, he said, builds trust instead of breaking it, and benefits everyone in the long run.