LA County homelessness officials facing surging demand for crisis housing for homeless families are exploring a variety of options, including possibly using Airbnb to house them, KPCC reported.
Since the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority started keeping count in November, 170 families across the county have been unable to access crisis housing because there’s just not enough. In South LA, where demand is especially high, there are currently 76 families on a waiting list for emergency housing.
"We have more folks seeking crisis housing than we have crisis housing beds for," Josh Hall, LAHSA's family system integration manager, told KPCC.
In response to the growing need for emergency housing, county officials have already taken steps such as making $90,000 worth of motel vouchers available for families and teaming up with nonprofits to make more shelter spaces available in South and Southeast LA.
But they’re also looking into new options, including using Airbnb as either a short-term or long-term way to make housing available to homeless families. LAHSA is planning to meet with Airbnb officials sometime this week.
Crisis housing is intended to be a temporary place for homeless people to stay before they transition to permanent housing and can take the form of motel vouchers or a spot in an emergency shelter.
But it’s now taking longer for families to get placed in housing, meaning that they’re spending more time in crisis housing than they used to. Previously, a family might wait about 45 days to be placed in housing. Now it’s taking 99 days.
"As the rental market has tightened, it's become much harder to get homeless families into housing. Rents keep rising,” Hall said.
Measure H, the half-cent sales tax increase that will help fund homeless services across the county, doesn’t kick in until July. Deciding where and how to spend that money is expected to be a long debate; the county Board of Supervisors will vote in June on how to spend the first of the funds.