LA County looks to partner with Metro to reach homeless aboard trains, buses

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors today called on its Homeless Initiative staff to work with Metro to explore ways of coordinating outreach and service delivery to growing numbers of homeless people who seek shelter aboard trains and buses and at rail stations.

The board backed a motion introduced by Supervisor Janice Hahn that calls for the county and Metro to discuss ways of expanding outreach teams to people who are homeless who use the Metro system, and to consider development of round-the-clock “navigation hubs” within the Metro system, where those who are experiencing homelessness can be connected with social services.

Such hubs could potentially be used to provide direction to shelters for homeless people who exit trains at the end of the service day—a response to recent concerns expressed by Long Beach residents describing an influx of homeless people who are forced to exit Metro A (formerly Blue) Line trains in that city’s Downtown area when the trains stop running in the early morning hours. Earlier this month, the Long Beach City Council voted to draft a letter to Metro to reconsider the practice. The Metro board is slated to discuss the issue at its Thursday meeting.

The motion the Board of Supervisors approved Tuesday also calls for the possible establishment of a specialized homeless task force including representatives of Metro, contracted Metro police, Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority personnel, the county and other social service providers.

“While Metro has made significant investments in meaningful solutions to address the crisis, the agency is a transit provider, first and foremost, and is not a social services provider,” the motion states. “Metro is not well-positioned on its own to ensure that social services are seamlessly integrated into the county’s broader service delivery system and safety net. Moreover, the full extent of the homeless crisis on the Metro system is not well understood, as the County’s Point-in-Time Count has not deployed volunteers to count the number of homeless riding Metro or residing on Metro property.”

The 2022 Greater Los Angeles Homelessness Point-in-Time Count estimated that 69,144 people in L.A. County are homeless, a 4.1% increase from the 2020 count. Long Beach, which conducts its own count, found a 62% jump in homelessness over the same time frame.

Tuesday’s motion calls on the county Housing Initiative to report back to the board in writing within 90 days about the proposals and six months after with progress updates.

Staff reporter Jason Ruiz contributed to this story.

Long Beach asks Metro to evaluate policy of forcing people off the A-Line at its terminus Downtown

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