Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris Conveys City Vision for Homelessness Solutions
The condition of homelessness in the Antelope Valley has been a long-standing crisis. The arduous battle to mitigate the growing prevalence of displaced individuals and families throughout the region has consistently challenged the City of Lancaster, our faith-based community, and the many community stakeholders whose efforts directly support the betterment and transition of those affected by the multitude of contributing factors to becoming homeless.
In recent years, significant attempts have been made to improve the Antelope Valley’s ability to more effectively address homelessness. Municipal efforts have pursued multiple avenues toward achieving progress. The City has repeatedly protested to garner an appropriate measure of resources from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority. A partnership with Los Angeles County was structured to secure additional winter facilities to accommodate the increasing homeless population. A minimal tax was proposed to raise necessary project development funds that would help foster long-term solutions. Additionally, the City collaborated with the local faith-based community and numerous other entities to devise an effective plan to implement and follow through to completion.
For one reason or another, each of these strides achieved various measures of success, but fell short of the collective goal. Meanwhile, the brunt of responsibility has continued to weigh on local churches and non-profit organizations that simply do not have the full resources to sustain such an overwhelming charge. Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris is determined to attain the level of support necessary to change the reality of homelessness in the Antelope Valley.
“Failing is not an option. Accepting is not an option. Turning a blind eye is not an option. We have been attacking this problem head on, in every feasible way we can devise, and we are not giving up this fight,” said Mayor Parris. “We have had to rethink our approach to addressing this issue and our outlook regarding how to best help those in need. We are well aware that homelessness is about more than just not having a place to live. It is different for each individual, for each family. To truly impact the severity of the homeless crisis in the Antelope Valley, we will incorporate medical care, mental health care, effective life-coping skills, education, and job training.”
With a number of collaborative concepts being developed and implemented on an ongoing basis, the Lancaster City Council and staff aim their efforts toward developing a full-service approach to homelessness mitigation. This includes providing opportunities for homeless persons to gain the assistance they need to live independently in appropriate housing. Such transition often requires life coaching, wellness support, and skillset development. Mayor Parris’ shared goal is to provide all such services, along with the necessary housing and operational facilities, in an all-inclusive location that offers all participants full access to the help they require to succeed.
“The City is working hard to bring all the necessary components together to once and for all create a solution for homelessness in our community, a solution that will infuse potential and promise into the lives of each person and every family affected by this dire circumstance,” added Mayor Parris.