The Metro Board of Directors unanimously voted Thursday to explore the feasibility of expanding a pilot program that has deployed two outreach teams along the Red Line to help the homeless.
The program focuses on helping homeless people encountered on buses and trains, and in and around transit stations, obtain housing and other services.
"It's critical that we don't lose momentum," said Los Angeles County Supervisor Ridley-Thomas, who is also a Metro board member. "These teams were initially funded on a pilot basis and now that they have demonstrated their worth, we need to assure that the service will be ongoing."
The approved motion directs Metro staff to submit recommendations for extending the Pilot Multidisciplinary Homeless Outreach Program on an ongoing basis, and to other lines and stations.
"There are clear opportunities to provide similar intensive services in other areas — notably on the Gold, Blue and Green Lines — and the funding requirements and logistical implications of this should be assessed in short order," Ridley-Thomas said. "We know that deploying homeless outreach through multidisciplinary teams is the most successful way of getting individuals housed and into services. As an added benefit, this type of intervention also improves the atmosphere for our passengers."
The pilot program began operating on the Red Line last May. Over the last 10 months, the teams -- composed of a nurse, a substance abuse counselor, a mental health clinician, an outreach worker, and a formerly homeless person —have engaged 1,539 individuals and linked 208 of them to interim housing resources, with another 237 individuals linked to permanent housing resources and 19 linked to permanent housing, according to Metro.