Torrance has received $1 million in federal funding to help the city respond to homelessness, officials announced Monday, April 25.

The money, which comes from the bipartisan spending bill recently passed by Congress, will help support Torrance’s 40-unit temporary housing program – which is set to open in June at the Civic Center – and the city’s efforts to clean up and make improvements to existing homeless encampments. Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, helped secure the federal money.

In addition to short-term housing, the one-year temporary housing pilot program will provide each participant with a range of social services, including access to mental health and addictions treatment, job training and research assistance. jobs, as well as specialized help in finding permanent accommodation.

“These funds will go to the city’s project for the homeless,” Mayor Pat Furey said at a Monday event at City Hall, where Lieu presented the money to Torrance officials. “This will not only support the infrastructure of the project, but also the ability to retain outreach coordinators, which is so important.”

Outreach coordinators typically identify and maintain relationships with homeless people for the purpose of providing them with housing and other social services. Torrance will also use federal money to hire housing navigators, who will help program participants find permanent housing, Furey said.

The money will also be used, Furey said, to clean up existing homeless encampments across the city.

“That’s actually the real goal,” he said, “to clean up the homeless encampments that we have now.”

The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority reported 332 homeless people in Torrance during its 2020 homeless count survey, an increase of 106 people from the previous year. LAHSA conducted its 2022 count in January – after last year’s count was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic – but will not release the results until July.

“We have an anti-camping order, which unfortunately we cannot enforce due to the court ruling,” Furey said. “So someone can sleep in the middle of the sidewalk and we’re limited because we don’t have a place to locate.”

In Martin v. Boise, a landmark court case, a federal judge ruled that cities could not legally enforce anti-camping ordinances without first providing shelter to their homeless populations – citing the Constitution’s Eighth Amendment guarantee of protection against cruel and unusual punishments.

The city, Furey said, will use funds from Lieu’s office to install additional infrastructure at sites where homeless people tend to congregate and set up camps. These improvements include wrought iron fencing, hazardous waste removal, and landscaping to enhance the aesthetic appeal of these locations.

“We really have to clean them up and keep people out of there because it’s unhealthy and dangerous,” Furey said, “and it’s really a problem for the community and the people who live locally.”

Lieu, a former Torrance councilman who attended Monday’s town hall event, said he was confident the city would put the money to good use.

“It was an honor for me to serve on the Torrance City Council,” Lieu said. “This is where the rubber really hits the road, where you have to execute policies and you can help people directly — what Congress does is provide funding to local jurisdictions to help them help people. people.”

Lieu’s office also secured $1 million in federal funds to build a youth wellness center in Redondo Beach and an additional $1 million for the Southern California Regional Occupational Center’s Labor Market Re-Entry Program. .

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