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People Who Experienced Homelessness Tell Us How Our Current System Is Failing Them

“I don’t understand why everyone is in the same game, but they don’t act like partners. They act like competition and that doesn’t help solve homelessness”

This Spring, we commissioned Redstone and the Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH) to conduct focus groups with people who have experienced homelessness to better understand their perspectives on governance challenges and solutions. Participants had all experienced homelessness in Los Angeles County and currently interact with the system as advocates, case managers, and advisors to various organizations and agencies.

“The complexity of the system that services the unhoused population in Los Angeles creates a lack of regional accountability. People experiencing homelessness feel this fragmentation and lack of accountability most acutely,” said Miguel A. Santana, Co-Chair of the Housing and Homelessness Action Team of the Committee, and President and CEO of the Weingart Foundation.  “Our conversations with them clearly show a demand for regional coherence, the ability to hold a single entity accountable, and for that entity to set clear, measurable, and transparent benchmarks.”

Participants in the focus groups highlighted the need for:

  • Centralized leadership and a regional strategy, to ensure resources are efficiently spent to address the needs of those experiencing homelessness.
  • Coordination among the County, cities, and Los Angeles Homeless Service Authority (LAHSA)  to ensure adequate affordable housing supply and wraparound services before, during, and after homelessness.
  • Formal roles on the ground and in senior leadership for people with lived expertise.
  • An improved public narrative about people who experience homelessness

“The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation is committed to supporting efforts to make homelessness rare, brief, and non-reoccurring. Central to our work and values is amplifying the voices and leadership of people who are currently experiencing or have experienced homelessness,” said Peter Laugharn, Co-Chair of the Housing and Homelessness Action Team of The Committee for Greater LA, and President and CEO of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation.  “As this report shows, their input and ideas are critical toward the development and implementation of solutions for homelessness. ”

We commissioned the research to build on the insight garnered in their initial report We’re Not Giving Up: A Plan for Homelessness Governance in Los Angeles, and focus group research with voters to assess their attitudes on homelessness where they shared their lack of faith in local government to address homelessness. 

In addition to today’s public release of the lived expertise research findings, the Committee hosted a briefing for service providers.

Read the findings HERE

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Focus Group Findings