L.A. Metro’s Homeless Outreach Teams Report Back

The transit agency's year-long experiment with homeless services has placed 19 people in permanent housing and spurred hopes of expanding the program.
March 28, 2018, 10am PDT | Elana Eden
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Renata Kilinskaite

Last year, the L.A. County Metropolitan Transportation Authority launched two teams tasked with outreaching to homeless riders along the Red Line. First formed as a project of the county Department of Health Services, the teams—comprised of medical and mental health providers, substance abuse counselors, and formerly homeless advocates—have sought to "keep track of" homeless people and connect them with services and housing, Meghan McCarty Carino explains for KPCC.

The results so far? "The teams had interacted with about 1,500 individuals over the last 10 months — 19 were actually placed in permanent housing, while 445 more were connected with programs that work to provide temporary or permanent housing," Carino reports.

In hopes of expanding the pilot— which was initially supposed to cover the Gold and Green Lines as well—Metro has put in to receive funding from Measure H, the county sales tax passed last year to fund homeless services. The agency also participates in the Los Angeles Police Department's HOPE program, which partners police officers and homeless services workers.

L.A. Metro, which oversees a real-estate development program alongside its bus and rail operations, has recently turned its attention to homelessness in part as a response to surveys indicating that safety concerns are a major deterrent to transit ridership. As ridership rates continue to fall, the agency has nearly doubled the number of police and armed security guards on rail and buses partly to "mitigate the adverse impacts of homelessness" on transit, although research has suggested that homeless people are more likely to be victims than perpetrators of crime.

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Published on Friday, March 23, 2018 in KPCC
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