Homeless Crisis

The Homeless Crisis is viewed by some as an enforcement problem when in actuality it is a societal problem that has been overlooked for way too long. In 2020, there were over 66,000 individuals experiencing homelessness, and of these numbers 25% suffered from serious mental illness, 27% suffered from substance or alcohol abuse.

 

Given the existing court orders and County of Los Angeles and City of Los Angeles existing policies the powers of the Sheriff Department are limited.  As Sheriff I recognize my authority is limited, so I must focus on what I can do to help become part of the solution until the Courts, State, County and Municipal Governments work together to provide policy that has meaningful effects on this crisis.

 

We must work towards reducing the numbers of those living on the streets beyond housing, especially as it relates to those who refuse to be housed because they suffer from Mental Illness or Substance Abuse. Many who suffer from Drug and Alcohol Addiction do not want to live in a place where drug or alcohol testing is a requirement to reside. Many are provided housing but often leave these premises quickly because of their dependency to use drugs or alcohol. 

 

What can I do within my authority as Sheriff to effect change?

  1. I want to contribute and have a positive impact on our homeless population as it pertains to those individuals who are incarcerated.

  2. I will work with The Board of Supervisors to convert existing County Facilities to Humane Mental Illness and Substance Abuse and Hospital Clinics to house those within the Homeless Population that commit crimes.

  3. These locations will have complete wrap around services to treat these individuals while they are in custody.

  4. These locations will be staffed by Mental Health, Drug and Alcohol Treatment Professionals and County Public Services Professionals to provide the care and follow up treatment services needed to reduce recidivism that exists amongst this population.

  5. We must require a series of treatment steps and provide life skill training to those who suffer from these illnesses while they are in county custody.

  6. I will seek Homeless Professional Staffing support for each Patrol Station from the County Board of Supervisors to work in conjunction with our Department to assist us on need based calls from the public that relates to the Homeless population.

  7. Expand Mental Evaluation Teams to 24/7 days a week availability who respond to Homeless incident calls to evaluate and provide options for housing, medical treatment and transportation when necessary.

Support Legislation for Conservatorship of Mentally Ill Homeless Individuals

 

I have met with a number of Homeless Advocates who support court ordered Conservatorships for those on the streets who suffer from severe Mental Illness and simply cannot take care of themselves. I support this effort to help those that cannot help themselves.  I will advocate toward this as a viable humane solution to help individuals in need who live on the streets by:

  1. I will create a Mental Illness Report tracking system where deputies take incident reports from citizens. Deputies will document via a Mental Illness Incident Report when they witness activities by Mentally Ill homeless individuals that warrants a potential Conservatorship review by a Judge or the District Attorney for the individual's safety or the public's safety.

  2. The same mental Illness Reports can and will be used when these individuals commit a crime to assist the District Attorney and Judges overseeing these cases to better recommend and rule on these cases.

  3. As Sheriff, I will work with the State Legislature, County Board of Supervisors, other Local Elected Officials, and the community at large to advocate for a conservatorship option.

I stand for truly making a positive contribution to society by helping the unhoused within my authority as Sheriff. The current grandstanding of Homeless Sweeps by Sheriff Villenueva has been a failure. These highly publicized events in Venice Beach and other parts of Los Angeles have only worked for short periods of time and the Homeless Encampments returned after the Sheriff and cameras left.

 

I am committed to having a positive impact through compassion for the Homeless by taking action that truly helps these individuals.