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    Homeless Services System Analysis: Envisioning An Optimal System In Los Angeles


    Year: 2020

    The Los Angeles homeless services system analysis is a tool to understand the current state of the homeless services system and to examine what strategies can be employed to pursue an optimal system, which would have the capacity to permanently house all people who experience homelessness. The optimal system is intended to achieve a functional end to homelessness in Los Angeles County. Homelessness at a level of “functional zero” is that which can be adequately served by a system’s resources so that homelessness is a rare, brief, and one-time experience.

    Functional zero can only be achieved by efficiently operating a homeless services system that has an appropriate mixture of housing resources to which participants can exit. Moreover, adequate availability of housing resources that are affordable and sustainable is essential to ensuring that system staff is able to permanently house thousands of people who have experienced homelessness, even as other people fall into homelessness, are served by the system, and then exit into permanent housing. This movement through the system and into housing is a concept called “system flow.” System flow is only achievable when the homeless services system has the right balance of permanent housing, interim housing (IH), and tailored supportive services and each of these resource types is scaled to the appropriate level for the local population. Building from this foundational understanding, the system analysis envisions an optimal system that has components that are balanced, where the appropriate temporary and permanent interventions are right-sized to serve the people who need them, and where maximum efficiency is achieved to move people through the homeless services system and into permanent housing.

    This system analysis provides the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) and policymakers with a snapshot of the existing system resources so that solutions can be developed to create a more effective and balanced homeless services system. This report also offers a strategy for proportionally building our system over a five-year period, understanding that homelessness is dynamic, and any additional investments would need time to be brought to scale.

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