A Bridge Home

Continuing our commitment to homeless veterans.

During his annual State of the City address, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced his “A Bridge Home” initiative to address the unprecedented homelessness crisis in our neighborhoods. The program is designed to replace concentrations of homeless encampments with temporary, safe, secure housing and services that provide homeless people a bridge to permanent housing.

Once the temporary facilities are opened, the City will provide significant sanitation services to that neighborhood to clean up former encampments. Each council district is being asked to identify an encampment and a nearby location for temporary housing.

Councilmember Bonin hopes that District 11 will have at least two locations for bridge housing. The first will be on the VA campus near Brentwood. The second will be in Venice.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Q: Where will Council District 11’s A Bridge Home temporary bridge housing facilities be located?
A: Councilmember Bonin plans for District 11 to have at least two locations for bridge housing. The first will be on the Veterans Affairs campus near Brentwood. The second will be in Venice.

THE VA CAMPUS

Q: What will it look like? How will the site be designed?
A: The site will include two 40’ x 120’ tension membrane structures and modular trailers, which will be located within the VA campus near existing buildings and services. The site will offer roughly 100 beds for currently homeless veterans, as well as storage for residents, personal hygiene and laundry facilities, supportive and community engagement services, and 24-hour security.

Q: How long will bridge housing exist at this location?
A: The City hopes to open bridge housing facilities 2019, and to have them remain open for up to three years.

Q: Is this a shelter? How will the Bridge Housing operate?
A: Bridge housing is very different from emergency shelters. Unlike emergency shelters, bridge housing will be open to its residents 24 hours a day, 7 days per week. The facilities will provide sufficient storage for personal belongings, and allow families and circles of friends to remain together. Bridge housing will include restrooms, showers, food, climate-controlled accommodations, storage and on-site, 24-hour security.

Through funding from the Department of Veterans Affairs, bridge housing will provide onsite social wrap-around services, case management, and social workers to help find and prepare to transition into long-term housing for residents.  The goal of the program is to help facilitate the transition of people into housing swiftly, with the intention of having people stay in the bridge housing for no more than 90 days at a time.

Q: Who will operate the bridge housing?
A: The Department of Veterans Affairs will manage the facility.

Q: Who will live at the bridge housing?
A: Outreach for the bridge housing will be focused exclusively on veterans, and only veterans will be eligible to stay in the bridge housing.

Q: Why have bridge housing on the VA campus?
A: We owe the men and women who served our country in the military a sincere debt of gratitude, and many people who have served come home with issues that makes getting the help they need difficult. A specialized bridge home facility that caters specifically to veterans is the right thing to do, and an important part of larger strategies to end homelessness. The VA campus is developing supportive housing, but while that happens, a bridge

Q: Where will the bridge home facility be on the VA campus?
A: The site selected by the VA and city will be internal to the VA campus and will be located near existing buildings. It will not be visible from the outside of the campus.

Q: Will any other temporary housing facilities be built in other parts of Los Angeles as part of the Bridget Home initiative?
A: Yes. The A Bridge Home initiative calls for 100 shelter beds in each and every council district in Los Angeles. By allowing each Council office to identify at least one shelter location, the initiative is founded in equity and a fair geographic distribution of resources.

Q: What will happen to encampments near the location of the bridge shelter facility once the facility is open and operational?
A: The “A Bridge Home” initiative is designed specifically to match new temporary housing locations with enhanced cleanup of homeless encampments. Once the temporary housing is operational and homeless outreach workers have had time to connect with the people living on the streets of Brentwood,

Q: How much will it cost and who will build it? 
A: The construction, expected to cost $5 million, will be managed by the City of Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering.

Q. This doesn’t seem like a permanent solution. What else are you doing to help end veterans homelessness in Los Angeles? 
A: The temporary housing is part of an urgent push by local VA officials. Through their efforts, the VA has moved forward with its Master Plan, opened a “Safe Parking” program for veterans living in their vehicles, and started providing permanent supportive housing for homeless veterans in existing buildings. Currently, 54 veterans are housed in Building 209. With financial support from the City of Los Angeles though HHH bond funds, Building 205 and Building 209 are also being converted into supportive housing for veterans.

Q: Tell me again why the City is doing this?
A: There are more than 33,000 people who are homeless in Los Angeles, and 24,000 of them go without any form of shelter. As a result, we have a growing number of encampments in nearly every neighborhood of Los Angeles. Federal courts have been abundantly clear that the City of Los Angeles cannot ban people from sleeping on sidewalks and living in encampments unless and until we provide an alternative. In stark terms, it is sidewalks or shelter, homeless encampments or homes. This initiative is a step in the direction of finding solutions to this complex issue.

Q: How many veterans will this help get off the street?
A: There will most likely be around 100 beds in the temporary housing facility. Bridge housing is designed as a temporary stop for people who used to be living on the street, and as more people are connected with long-term housing opportunities, their beds in the temporary facility will be made available for the next person looking to move off of the street. Since the average stay for someone in bridge housing is usually around 90 days, that means that as many as 400 people could potentially be served by the temporary housing facility each year.