PAID FOR BY FERRADA FOR WHITTIER CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT 3, 2020 - FPPC #1419191

YASMIN'S PLATFORM

Moving Whittier forward!

HOMELESSNESS

Yasmin believes in applying comprehensive resolutions to homelessness in Whittier. It is critical to be proactive on this issue by providing a culture of care and compassion but also one that is economically sound. Addressing the issue head-on through affordable housing and socioeconomic resources is cheaper in the long run than continually policing and relocating individuals experiencing homelessness. 

Revising the City’s homelessness plan:

The plan was adopted prior to the Boise case, and was designed as a mechanism to access more County funds –which was unsuccessful. The City received only a fraction of the money they requested, rendering the plan ineffective.

Connecting with employers:

According to studies done by the City, 97% of Whittier residents would be willing to employ a homeless individual. Educating employers is a critical step as to how they can best support individuals experiencing homelessness. The County does job preparation assessments as part of their wrap-around services, but there’s a community outreach component of letting employers know how to connect with access centers. We can’t wait for employers to approach us, we need to go out into the community and open up a dialogue.

Coordinating and cooperating with groups already doing the work:

  • All Cities in L.A. County belong to a Service Planning Area (SPA). Representatives from each SPA meet regularly to discuss individual cases regularly, but there also needs to be conversations with our nearby cities about best practices and long term solutions.

    • Although our evidence thus far is anecdotal, our City Council members agree that homeless individuals are from Whittier and are not, contrary to popular belief, from somewhere else.

    • We have a number of amazing groups and individuals doing great work. Out of respect for that work, we need to bring community members into the conversation and make sure our efforts are coordinated.

Not waiting for the problem to get worse:

  • The Homelessness Plan highlights that the City was already experiencing a bed shortage prior to the boom in visible homeless populations. We’ve known about this issue for years now, but no steps were being taken to rectify the situation until we had a full blown crisis. That is unacceptable.

Addressing the bed shortage head-on:

  • The City’s plan always called for building more beds, even before the homelessness crisis. We know that we need additional bridge/crisis housing, more transitional housing, and more permanent supportive housing in order to combat this problem. That sounds really intimidating, and our Council has avoided dealing with this issue for months now, but studies show public support within the City.

  • 72.72% of Whittier residents support building more Permanent Supportive Housing.

  • 65.18% of Whittier residents agree that we should develop relationships with landlords. About half of all units in Whittier are rented as opposed to owned, which provides a huge opportunity to educate landlords about the benefits of offering section-8, or affordable housing units (including tax credits, grants, etc.). Rapid rehousing has been systematically proven to be one of the most effective ways of reducing homelessness both long and short term. 

  • Nationwide, we’ve seen a commitment to permanent supportive housing be extremely effective in reducing chronically homeless populations, over a ten year period where the number of permanent supportive housing beds quadrupled, the percentage of chronically homeless individuals fell 27.4%.