Why shouldn’t LAUSD look for places to house homeless families?

December 3, 2018

About 16,500 LAUSD students are homeless or semi-homeless. The district already provides meals, counseling, supplies, clothes and transportation for them. Hoping to help more, the school board has directed the superintendent to undertake a sweeping study on steps the district could take to house homeless families on its own properties.

It’s to be expected when you think about it, but it’s shocking too: About 16,500 students in the Los Angeles Unified School District are homeless or semi-homeless, school officials say. Some live on the streets, but the vast majority live in cars or in shelters, in abandoned buildings, or motels or doubled up in the homes of relatives or friends.

The school district provides meals as well as counseling, supplies, clothes and transportation to its homeless students. Hoping to help in a more fundamental way, however, the school board two weeks ago directed Supt. Austin Beutner to undertake a sweeping study on steps the district could take to house homeless families, either temporarily or permanently, on its own properties.

The resolution, proposed by school board member Kelly Gonez, asks the superintendent to report back within six months on, among other things, the possibility of converting district-owned buildings into housing or even constructing new housing units on district property for homeless families with students in L.A. Unified schools; offering overnight parking (and supportive social services) to homeless families in vehicles; and providing overnight shelter, meals and wraparound services for homeless families throughout the year, or at least during winter and summer breaks.