LA Mental First

Idea Creator: 
Laura Lopez
City Challenge: 
Reducing Homelessness
The local county and city governments already work together in order to clear up homeless encampments. They offer assistance and services before being able to forcibly remove individuals from their makeshift homes. Most of the individuals have mental health problems but city sanitation workers are the ones being sent to make the initial assessment and that can't yield many positive results. A large majority of the homeless populations have some form of mental health problem and sending a city employee that works for sanitation is not properly trained to provide assistance to homeless people that need real assistance. I propose hiring 100 mental health support employees that are trained to help these people. The initial cost may be high but providing money up front will save a lot of money in cleaning up homeless encampments which is costly to agencies at both city and county levels. Another component of the program would be to find hotels that are not operational and turn a few dozen of them throughout the city in hostels. Many programs have strings attached for homeless people and by and large most homeless people refuse to accept their help because of those strings. Providing access to hostels where people can have a safe place to sleep a night, to have proper hygiene, and a safe place to store some of their belongings would be the best form of care and the only condition would be that all residents must contributes to cleaning duties and the general upkeep of the hostel as well as the safety of its inhabitants. I think a lot of people would benefit if mental health support workers made first contact and referred them to a place where they simply could be themselves without restrictions and rules. Ideally this would be temporary housing but not all individuals grow at the same rate. Some people would need to be there longer than others but simply having an environment that would allow them to grow, rather than imposing a lot of rules, would help more than a large amount or requirements. Hostels could take advantage of the large amount of empty buildings in the city at the moment to provide basic necessities for those that need it the most. Having dedicated mental health support workers and a place to call home would be things that could be building blocks to escape the horrible cycle of homelessness.
Average: 3.1 (17 votes)