Somethings Not Working, LAHSA: Youth Needed Help

Homeless that need a place to stay on the weekend can be out of luck.

If you are homeless and need a place to stay don’t look for help from LAHSA on a weekend or holiday.

One would think with Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority’s (LAHSA) total revenue of $845,367,023, there would be an emergency hotline for people to call when this massive bureaucracy is out of the office.

As residents in Westchester were leaving their home on Saturday, they saw a black SUV pull up on the street and stop in front of their home with two people inside. Because of the crime that has been occurring in the neighborhood, the residents circled back to check on the unfamiliar vehicle.

When they arrived back to their home, the SUV was gone and a young woman, in her early 20s had been left on the curb in front of their home. The homeowner contacted Debra Huston, a Westchester resident who has been involved with homelessness issues, and said, “She just got dumped on our street. She is just sitting on the sidewalk crying. I don’t know what to do for her.”

Huston gave the resident the telephone number for Councilmember Traci Park’s District Director Juan Fregoso. The Westchester Senior Lead Officers were not on duty, so Huston said to try 911 and say the girl was in medical distress, if she was.

Neither option worked and the resident wrote, “no answer with Juan, no luck with police and now she’s walking away.”

The woman was described as possibly Hispanic, wearing a black hoodie, sweatshirt and shorts. She had long hair, a ponytail and a black backpack. She had a cell phone and the resident said, “she knew about the shelters, was nice and clearly sad. She also seemed like she needed help. She said her family had turned their backs on her.”

The resident said the girl had also called homeless shelters but was told to call back on Monday.

Huston and another resident searched for the woman, who was in her early 20s, and found her, but she “was clearly in distress,” and they didn’t have any shelter information to give her.

They started looking for a solution, but LAHSA is not on duty during the weekend.

And LAHSA provides no phone number to contact, “which shocks me because this isn’t the first time it has happened,” Huston said. “We get the run-around when we see vulnerable homeless women arrive in our neighborhood, and it’s horrible that there’s no place we can call to get help for them.

“We’ve called 211, and that doesn’t work. We’ve called 911 and LAPD won’t come unless the person is in medical distress. We’ve called the Council Office, and it takes quite a while to get help.”

Huston told CTN that, “I contacted a friend whose son is an LAPD officer, and he said St. Joseph’s Mission and Midnight Mission will take people on weekends.” She didn’t know that but didn’t know the location of the missions and was unsure about transporting the youth.

She reached out to people in the Palisades and CTN contacted Pacific Palisades Task Force on Homelessness’ past president Sharon Kilbride, who said in the past, Andy Bales from the Union Rescue Mission had sent an uber to help with a homeless person here, who needed shelter.

Kilbride said that members of the PPTFH have put up homeless in a hotel at their own expense.

Kilbride and new PPTFH Co-President Cindi Young both suggested the WIN app (What I Need), which gives listings of shelters and beds available, but added that it might not be helpful on weekends.

New PPTFH co-president Cindi Young wrote, “I frequently call the police non-emergency number (877-ASK-LAPD or 877-275-5273) number where the median hold time is 25 minutes. Young also attached the LAHSA’s Resource Guide click here.

LAHSA lists 47 Interim Housing sites. Huston asked, “I’m wondering if there’s a central number to call to find a bed, or would we have to call each interim housing site?”

Additionally, LAHSA provides a four-page interim housing referral form that has to be filled out to anyone wanting housing click here.

“Young women and all women are so vulnerable on the streets,” Huston said. “No one would want this for their daughter, and we felt unable to help this girl.”

LAHSA’s job is to help the homeless, right?

Something is not working.

Young homeless women on the streets are vulnerable.

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