Who is responsible for managing homelessness in LA?

There is no single government agency responsible for managing homeless services in Los Angeles County. Instead, responsibilities are distributed across a multitude of departments and divisions. Here are the primary players:

The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) is the lead agency in the Los Angeles Continuum of Care. LAHSA coordinates housing and related services throughout the county in collaboration with local organizations, government agencies, and community partners. Its work includes:

  • Planning, coordinating, and implementing programs that support homeless and other vulnerable populations.
  • Placing unhoused residents in permanent and interim housing.
  • Managing a variety of support services and resources for people experiencing homelessness.
  • Conducting and reporting on the annual county-wide homeless count.

Los Angeles County is divided into 8 Service Planning Areas (SPAs), most of which encompass more than one city, to manage the delivery of services. These SPAs and their respective homeless populations are:

  • SPA 1 (Antelope Valley) - 4,686
  • SPA 2 (San Fernando) - 10,443
  • SPA 3 (San Gabriel) - 5,009
  • SPA 4 (Metro) - 18,531
  • SPA 5 (West) - 6,669
  • SPA 6 (South) - 12,995
  • SPA 7 (East) - 6,511
  • SPA 8 (South Bay) - 6,476

Note that the SPAs are separate from the county’s five supervisorial districts (SDs), which each represent approximately 2 million county residents. 

In 2015, the LA County Board of Supervisors launched the Homeless Initiative as a central taskforce to address and prevent homelessness. It invests in interventions that help ensure rent-burdened, low-income families and individuals  can stay in their homes. Services include:

  • Resolving crises that could lead to eviction by offering short-term rental subsidies, housing conflict resolution, mediation with landlords, and legal defense against eviction.
  • Providing street-based outreach teams that build relationships with people in encampments and connect them to housing, healthcare, mental health treatment, and other services.
  • Case management and supportive services to help unhoused residents obtain housing, utilize public services and benefits, and find employment.
  • Other programs to expand the supply of interim, permanent, and affordable housing.

The Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA) provides the largest stock of affordable housing in Los Angeles. With a yearly budget of $1 billion, HACLA offers a range of programs for specific groups: low-income, homeless, disabled, veterans, children, and seniors. 

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is the federal arm that administers grants supporting emergency shelter and services for people experiencing homelessness. HUD’s Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) is used to collect client data about housing and services for individuals and families at risk of or experiencing homelessness. This data is used across service systems to stay informed about homeless individuals, needs, services, and planning across LA County.

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