Expanding Our Work Into the Antelope Valley

The Antelope Valley, in northern Los Angeles County, is a vast area of over 2,200 square miles—comprising more than half of the land area in the County. 

The City of Lancaster, with support from the County of Los Angeles, Supervisor Kathryn Barger, and the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, are developing Kensington Campus to provide permanent supportive housing for 100 homeless individuals and interim bridge housing to 156 individuals experiencing homelessness. The developer is InSite Development and The People Concern will be the lead services provider. There will be a full array of social services and health services provided on-site.

The two major cities in the AV — Lancaster and Palmdale — each have populations near 160,000.  There are also more than 20 unincorporated townships there—most with populations under 3,000 people. According to the 2019 Homeless Count, 3,298 homeless people reside in the AV, and the majority live in unincorporated areas.

Extreme summer and winter seasons make for a very harsh life for individuals and families who are homeless.

People experiencing homelessness often pitch tents or build make-shift structures to escape the conditions. Some even dig ditches to protect themselves from the elements. More than half of the Antelope Valley’s homeless population lives in RVs, automobiles or other vehicles.

In May, Shelter Partnership was engaged by Supervisor Kathryn Barger and the Los Angeles County Executive Office’s Homeless Initiative to develop an actionable plan to address homelessness in the unincorporated Antelope Valley. Our staff have spent considerable time working with the Supervisor’s office; interviewing leaders from the rural townships; meeting with a variety of County Department staff; and convening a core group of individuals from the faith community, social service agencies, colleges, health care providers, and community residents, to help inform our plan.

This homeless plan is a challenging assignment because most of the unincorporated area is zoned for very low-density development and does not have infrastructure (water, sewer, and electric) to support development.  As a result, our plan proposes a number of “out of the box” ideas, several of which have never been tried in L.A. County.

  1. Improve services coordination and connections within and between systems of care; strengthen and expand services in rural communities;
  2. Establish “Community Health and Wellness Homes” in rural communities with the greatest needs to facilitate access to homeless prevention, information and referral, and health and wellness resources;
  3. Address current interim housing gaps through both emergency measures and longer-term approaches;
  4. Increase development of/access to permanent housing solutions through new options and models;
  5. Build regional awareness and capacity to end homelessness. 

With this Strategic Plan for the Homeless in the Unincorporated Areas of the Antelope Valley, there will be a clear direction on how Los Angeles County can most effectively work with the cities of Lancaster and Palmdale and the Antelope Valley’s response to homelessness.

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