LA homeless authority seeks input from homeless on policy

A homeless encampment located around the Santa Ana Civic Center in Orange County.
A homeless encampment located around the Santa Ana Civic Center in Orange County.
Jill Replogle/KPCC

The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) is seeking individuals who have experienced homelessness to join an advisory group.

About 25 people will be invited to join the Lived Experience Advisory Group, a committee to help inform the programs and services being developed by the city and county to address homelessness.

The agency is seeking a diverse set of individuals that can represent different experiences of homelessness. They want diversity in the geographic representation and experiences, including single adults, families, transition-age youth, veterans, survivors of domestic violence disabled persons and those who have been incarcerated.

“We have a tremendous responsibility, not only to the taxpayers, but to the people that we service as well to make sure that we’re putting forth programs and services that are having a lasting impact and can really make a dent in the homeless issue here throughout the county,” said Jessica Reed, Policy Manager at LAHSA.

There has been a renewed push to tackle homelessness in Los Angeles. County voters recently passed ballot measure H while city voters passed measure HHH that put more money towards programs and services for the homeless.  

“With a lot of us crafting policy, we need that voice constantly to remind us who we’re serving,” Reed said. “And we need to be able to test the programs we’re developing to see if it makes sense to the people that we’re serving.”

Before this advisory group, LAHSA relied on focus groups it created in 2015.  Reed said those groups were very helpful in thinking through problems and responses to the community’s needs.

The Advisory Group will formalize LAHSA’s process with structure, charter, mission and objectives.

Candidates chosen to join the Lived Experience Advisory Group will not be paid, but will receive a transportation gift card. Light fare and beverages are offered at the group's two-hour meetings, which are held the first Friday of each month.

“We have a lot to learn from them and I think it only makes our work more impactful if we continue to engage them on a regular basis,” Reed said.

The application deadline is June 6 and an application can be found online at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ZNFFM7K.