Arcadia will host a discussion event on homelessness in the San Gabriel Valley next year.
The City Council on Sept. 5 unanimously approved funding for the Multi-Agency Homelessness Symposium that is scheduled for Feb. 29 at the Arcadia Community Center, according to a city staff report.
“Homelessness impacts the entire San Gabriel Valley. It is not happening in a silo, in just one city or just one town,” Mayor Pro Tem April Verlato said in an email to Arcadia Weekly. “Elected officials need to work together to share ideas, evaluate programs that work and figure out what hasn’t worked and why.”
Verlato said she “proposed this symposium in order to bring people together to gain the knowledge needed to address homelessness. We can learn from one another and take positive steps towards finding solutions.”
According to the staff report, the Recreation and Community Services Department will lead the symposium in collaboration with the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments and Los Angeles County supervisors whose districts include SGV communities.
“The target audience will be city council members, city managers, and other local government executives in the San Gabriel Valley that are responsible for addressing the homelessness crisis,” according to the report.
The symposium will feature panel presentations on homelessness initiatives, and a variety of talks on successes and failures of efforts to reduce homelessness in the region.
“Panels will consist of two to three staff/elected officials from neighboring cities and agencies involved in the implementation of homeless services and housing,” according to the report. “Examples include panels on emergency shelters, hotel conversions, permanent supportive housing, enforcement, and regionalization efforts. The goal will be to provide objective analytics and learning lessons in a safe environment that cities in the region can use when considering their own approach to this complex issue.”
Key questions officials seek to address at the symposium are:
- What has worked? What has not worked?
- What is the definition of success and what are officials doing to track efforts and outcomes?
- What was the cost and how are officials funding a particular program or project?
- What would officials do differently?
- Has the effort reduced the number of homeless individuals in the community?
- Has the effort been received well politically?
“Los Angeles County has experienced a rise in homelessness over the last few years and the San Gabriel Valley is no exception,” according to the staff report. “The 2023 Greater Los Angeles Point-in-Time Homeless Count … identified 5,009 individuals experiencing homelessness in … the San Gabriel Valley, including the City of Arcadia.”
Organizers said the all-day event, with coffee and pastries in the morning, a luncheon and breaks with snacks and refreshments, “will be open to the public, but the focus will be on cities sharing information with other cities.”
Arcadia council members approved $2,500 from the city’s General Fund for costs of the event not covered by proceeds from the symposium’s $40 entry fee for attendees.