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LAHSA Commission Supports AB 761 to Streamline Use of State Armories

March 27, 2019 | March 28, 2019 | 3,293 total views

Los Angeles, CA – On March 22, the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) Commission expressed its support for AB 761, from Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian (AD 46-Van Nuys), which would reduce barriers to using state-owned armories as crisis and bridge housing. LAHSA’s support letter can be found here.

On a given night, close to 40,000 residents live on our streets, in vehicles, and in makeshift shelters countywide. All face immense health and safety hazards being unsheltered, particularly in the winter and summer months when severe weather can pose life-threatening risks.

California’s state-owned armories provide local jurisdictions with temporary housing options that are safe, empty most nights, and zoned to provide short-term relief to unsheltered residents. Yet many remain unused, due in part to high fees and burdensome requirements. Los Angeles County, which is home to about 20 armories, only regularly uses one as a winter shelter despite ongoing need for more emergency shelter sites.

Why Bill AB 761 Matters:
If passed, AB 761 introduces changes to the state code, including:

  • Extending the availability of armories from seasonal to year-round shelter use.
  • Capping the nightly and daily fees paid to the State, making it comparable with the market rate for similar-sized spaces for shelter use. At present, jurisdictions pay over twice the market rate.

AB 761 provides communities a measure of relief, as many, including our own, struggle to identify ways to quickly shelter our neighbors and offer service pathways to more permanent housing solutions. 

As the support letter states, “LAHSA estimates that if AB 761 were to pass, an additional 600 beds in LA County would become readily available as a result.

What You Can Do to Support AB 761:
The bill is expected to be heard in the Assembly Veterans Affairs Committee as early as April 9; LAHSA encourages providers to voice their support by submitting a position letter through the State Legislature Advocates portal.

A sample support letter is available here. For a copy of the word version of this letter, or for more information please refer to the fact sheet or contact Alex Visotzky, Legislative Affairs Manager, at avisotzky@lahsa.org

The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority is a joint powers authority of the city and county of Los Angeles, created in 1993 to address the problems of homelessness in Los Angeles County. LAHSA is the lead agency in the HUD-funded Los Angeles Continuum of Care, and coordinates and manages more than $300 million annually in federal, state, county, and city funds for programs providing shelter, housing, and services to people experiencing homelessness. For more information visit www.lahsa.org.

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