LOS ANGELES, CA – The Board of Supervisors today approved a motion authored by Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair Hilda L. Solis, Supervisor to the First District, and co-authored by Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell, promoting faith community involvement in the County’s efforts to prevent and combat homelessness.
“For many faith-based organizations, helping people experiencing homelessness is built into their mission – a part of their moral obligation,” said Chair Solis. “Many of our most vulnerable are more likely to trust and accept a meal and a bed from their local church or temple than they are from a government agency. To that end, the County has an opportunity to support our faith-based organizations by removing barriers to mainstream homeless systems in offering services and resources. No government will solve homelessness without the partnership of our faith-based communities.”
“Our faith-based organizations continue to step up to meet the needs of our unhoused residents – providing food, shelter, financial support and community,” said Supervisor Mitchell. “These churches, mosques, temples, synagogues and other places of worship do this because it is the right thing to do. Their work will continue whether we are involved or not. As we continue to meet people where they are in helping to end our homelessness crisis, it is in our best interest to intentionally partner with faith-based organizations in strengthening our network of care.”
With the understanding that faith-based organizations play a pivotal role in homeless services, the Faith Collaborative to End Homelessness (formerly the Faith Working Group) launched in 2018 to coordinate partnership efforts with faith-based organizations (FBOs) across Los Angeles County and developed a strategic plan to fold FBO homeless services into the County’s homeless service delivery system. The Faith Collaborative to End Homelessness consists of faith leaders, homelessness liaisons, and leads from various County agencies and elected offices.
The faith community is an extremely under-utilized resource.
Many congregations already provide services unknown to mainstream homelessness system partners, with others eager to develop or expand their programs to utilize their congregants and property, but lack the knowledge and resources to do so. And while there have been past initiatives to mobilize their efforts, they have fallen short in part because of the failure to recognize their needs and forcing them to conform to cumbersome systems already in place.
The passage of today’s motion instructs the County’s Chief Executive Officer, to procure a consultant(s) to conduct a countywide survey of FBOs to understand how they provide support and services to people experiencing homelessness or those living in poverty.
The motion also seeks the development a strategy in order to fully integrate the faith community into homelessness and other solutions across the County, make recommendations on the creation of a County Faith Commission on Homelessness, and report back to the Board in three months in writing with an interim status report on this effort.
To view the motion, click here.