LOS ANGELES (CNS) — A new study described by experts as providing the clearest picture yet of extreme poverty in the region has found that around 13,000 people on public assistance fall into homelessness in Los Angeles County each month, it was reported.
Although many quickly find work or rely on family to get off the streets, the number experiencing “continuous, unremitting, chronic homelessness” continues to grow, even after 10,000 people were housed over the last three years, according to the report being released Tuesday, Aug. 25, by the Economic Roundtable, a nonprofit research group in Los Angeles.
The report recommended that the welfare system intervene to help children and young adults who become homeless before their condition becomes chronic.
“Prevention is critical for reducing the number of people who experience homelessness as well as the number who become chronically homeless,” said the study quoted by The Times. “Housing does not provide a solution until the pathways into homelessness are narrowed.”
The analysis was based on records for 9 million county residents who received public assistance at any point between 2002 and 2010, according to The Times. The study said many systems, including disability screening, mental health, foster care and criminal justice, fed into the homelessness pipeline. The 2007 to 2010 recession also drove many out of their homes, it said.
The study also included these recommendations:
— Arranging screening for children’s disabilities, including cognitive and mental health issues.
— Screening adults for behavioral health needs.
— Home visits by a public health nurse for any family with children.
— Connecting families to substance abuse rehabilitation services.
The report cautioned that families can be reluctant to interact with authorities for fear of having their children removed from their homes and recommended that services not be “intrusive or sanctioning.”