Councilwoman Rodriguez Pushes for 'Good Neighbor' Rules to Combat City's Homelessness Crisis

Los Angeles, CA - Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez introduced legislation instructing City agencies and the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) to develop a set of rules and outreach protocols aimed at making Winter Shelter Program (WSP) operators better neighbors. These guidelines, known as the “Good Neighbor Policy,” established a standard for homeless service providers to operate within the vicinity of nearby communities.

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  March 6, 2018

Press Contact:
Tran Le
tran.le@lacity.org
213-257-0475

L.A. COUNCILWOMAN RODRIGUEZ PUSHES FOR ‘GOOD NEIGHBOR’ RULES TO COMBAT CITY’S HOMELESSNESS CRISIS

Los Angeles, CA - Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez introduced legislation instructing City agencies and the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) to develop a set of rules and outreach protocols aimed at making Winter Shelter Program (WSP) operators better neighbors. These guidelines, known as the “Good Neighbor Policy,” established a standard for homeless service providers to operate within the vicinity of nearby communities.

“I’ve seen this policy work for residents in the 7th Council District,” said Councilwoman Rodriguez. “It takes all of us working together to address the City’s homelessness crisis and the Good Neighbor Policy is an opportunity to rebuild the community’s trust and strengthen our dialogue between residents and service providers.”

While preparing for its 2017-2018 season, the Pacoima Winter Shelter, operated by Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission at 11066 Norris Ave. in Pacoima, faced resistance from the local community based on prior experiences -- excessive noise, trash, blight, and loitering from transients housed in the nearby shelter. In recognition of its status as the only winter shelter in the San Fernando Valley, Councilwoman Rodriguez and her staff worked with residents, the local church, and schools to address public safety concerns. This work resulted in the creation of new operating protocols and safety guidelines to minimize community impact. Councilwoman Rodriguez’s “Good Neighbor Policy” was added to the shelter operating agreement. These guidelines included:

  • Mandated pickup and drop off service only; no walk ups accepted
  • Secured 24 hours a day, 7 days a week security guard presence
  • Directed local caseworker to conduct outreach to homeless individuals in the neighborhood
  • Established 24 hours a day, 7 days a week feedback hotline and organized community feedback meetings
  • Increased sanitation services in areas surrounding the shelter

Silvia Fajardo, Principal of Pacoima Charter Elementary whose campus is located near the shelter stated, “I feel a big difference in the surrounding neighborhood from years past to now. We have not received any complaints from parents since the shelter reopened and the safety provisions are working. I hope that these provisions continue to be respected so that our kids can be safe in their neighborhood.”  

"The Good Neighbor Policy implemented by Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez was a great success,” said Ken Craft, CEO and Executive Director of Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission. “Unlike years past, we were able to operate the 2017-18 SPA 2 Cold Weather Shelter, located in Pacoima, without incident or disturbance to the neighborhood. By controlling in and out access and keeping open lines of communication with the community, homeless clients were provided a warm, secure place to sleep at night and the local community did not experience some of the common nuisances of shelters such as loitering, littering and unwanted activities. It is my hope that the Good Neighbor Policy will allow for an increase in crisis housing facilities in Los Angeles."   

Each year, the City establishes winter shelters to ensure that homeless individuals have a place to go during harsh winter weather conditions. Eight winter shelters in the City are operated by LAHSA and serve homeless individuals from December through March. The existing metrics utilized by LAHSA to evaluate emergency winter shelters lack formal guidelines for evaluating how shelters interact with surrounding neighborhoods.

“We turned these community concerns into action and over the course of five months, our work has led to the successful operation of this facility and a reduction in sanitation issues,” said Councilwoman Rodriguez. “I look forward to sharing more of the measurable impacts of this policy and identifying opportunities to scale it throughout the City.”

Councilwoman Rodriguez’s motion requests that the “Good Neighbor Policy” be adopted and incorporated as part of protocol at each winter shelter location in the City of Los Angeles. Read her motion, here.

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Los Angeles City Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez represents the 7th Council District in the Northeast San Fernando Valley which include the neighborhoods of Sylmar, Mission Hills, Pacoima, Lake View Terrace, Sunland, Tujunga, North Hills, Shadow Hills, and La Tuna Canyon.