Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger announced Thursday she has authored a motion to create a Blue Ribbon Commission on Homelessness to give recommendations to the board on ways to solve the homelessness crisis.
“The creation of a blue ribbon commission is critical to finally address that homelessness is a serious crisis,” Barger said. A blue ribbon commission is typically made up of experts in a field and functions to give recommendations, but does not hold any power itself.
“I have said many times that the status quo is no longer working and it’s time that we engage and collaborate with service providers, government agencies and city representatives throughout the county to come up with new strategies and solutions to bring individuals off the street and provide them with the care and services they deserve,” Barger said. “We cannot wait another day before upending our existing systems and approaches while vulnerable residents are dying and left to languish on our streets.”
Barger proposes that the commission be composed of nine appointed members. The commission would research homelessness governance reports and best practices from cities across the nation, as well as take into account how mental health care and substance abuse services are currently offered to people experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles County and how it can be improved.
The commission would also review the Joint Powers Authority that governs the county’s participation in the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority. That review would include an assessment of the powers and limitations of the organization and fiscal and operational consequences if the county decides to withdraw from it.
Barger’s motion proposes that the commission hold regularly scheduled meetings with county departments, agencies, stakeholders, service providers and local leaders. If the motion is approved, the commission would present its report with recommendations and assessments to the board within six months.