The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, led by Supervisor Janice Hahn and Chair Holly Mitchell, May 3, threw their support behind AB 2220, legislation that would provide state funding for local Homeless Court programs. Homeless courts, like those that already exist in Redondo Beach and Long Beach and will soon be launched in Torrance, are proving effective in helping the hardest-to-reach individuals get connected with services and housing.
The City of Redondo Beach runs a Homeless Court program that diverts unhoused individuals from jail and into housing for certain qualifying misdemeanors. An unhoused individual who qualifies for the Homeless Court will be linked with services and programs to get them housing-ready, leading to them entering housing and having their pending charges dismissed. Since its inception in September 2020, the Redondo Beach Homeless Court has permanently housed 22 individuals. Its success has led the City of Long Beach and Torrance to pursue similar models as well.
Despite their success, Homeless Court programs do not have an ongoing or consistent source of funding. The lack of funding threatens their futures and may deter other cities from implementing their own programs.
The Board of Supervisors supported a motion to back Assembly Bill 2220 (AB 2220) authored by Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi, which aims to address that problem by introducing state funding for Homeless Courts across California.
AB 2220 will establish a competitive-grant pilot program administered by the Judicial Council to create a homeless courts plan that includes a community-based framework. This will provide funding to both support the existing Homeless Courts like those in Redondo Beach, Long Beach, and Torrance and to also expand the model to other cities and jurisdictions.