At its meeting on November 7, the La Verne City Council voted to amend existing ordinances to enhance La Verne Police Department’s (LVPD) Homeless Outreach Support Team (HOST). In partnership with Tri-City Mental Health, the City utilized American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to form its own HOST program.
“Homelessness is a complex issue that greatly impacts our community and Police Department,” said Mayor Tim Hepburn. “As La Verne continues to approach homeless initiatives and programs with compassion and vigilance, these adjustments to the City’s ordinances intend to enhance the overall safety of our community. I urge all residents to do their part in remaining proactive and, together with LVPD and HOST, we can continue to find solutions to help those experiencing homelessness.”
At the August 1 City Council meeting, Council unanimously approved the allocation of $300,000 in ARPA funding to support the creation of HOST and its ongoing operations for the next three years. HOST aims to link resources and services to people who need help by deploying Community Navigators who help provide medical resources, homeless resources, mental health resources, financial resources and support groups.
Currently, the department’s homeless-related call volume continues to reach well over 200 calls per month and consumes about 10% of the daily calls for service. In the last two months, LVPD worked over 160 hours in overtime, which included 70 contacts related to homelessness. Roughly half of the contacts required some type of intervention including housing, documentation assistance and social services.
To maintain a high quality of life for community members, the department presented its analysis of the City’s existing ordinances during the November 7 City Council meeting. The new ordinance amends the La Verne Municipal Code by providing enforcement framework for officers and addressing safety hazards, such as people obstructing public right of way, prohibits camping or maintaining any lodging structure and restrains anyone from loitering in a public park from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. Modeled after existing ordinances in surrounding cities, the amendments assist by providing additional tools to a complex issue.
“This is an evolving process, and we lead with a realistic approach and understand that it is not a crime to experience homelessness. We first initiate outreach to gain insight on which resources would be most helpful for people,” said Chief Colleen Flores. “I am proud of the department for working tirelessly to address this issue while keeping our community safe, and we thank our partner agencies for their continuous collaboration.”
For more information and resources for individuals experiencing homelessness, visit the City’s homelessness resources page.