connect / 2018 A Collaboration Between Angelenos and LA Elected Officials to Solve Homelessness in LA

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Activation Challenge by LawMaker is launching a public, yearlong project for Angelenos & elected officials to collaboratively discuss solutions for homelessness & build grassroots political support for tangible change.

Please describe the activation your organization seeks to launch.

LawMaker is planning a 1-year collaboration between elected officials and residents to tackle homelessness in LA. This 12-month discussion will be divided into phases to 1) identify problems, 2) propose solutions, 3) analyze risks, 4) evaluate proposals, & 5) develop tangible resolutions. The process will be open to the public both on and offline to maximize participation and transparency as stakeholders and politicians work to develop programs and build support to effectively help the homeless.

Which of the connect metrics will your activation impact?​

  • Government responsiveness to residents’ needs
  • Participation in neighborhood councils

Will your proposal impact any other LA2050 goal categories?

  • LA is the healthiest place to LIVE

In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • City of Los Angeles

How will your activation mobilize Angelenos?

  • Advocate for policy
  • Digital organizing or activism
  • Trainings and/or in-person engagements
  • Create new tools or technologies for greater civic/political engagement
  • Increase participation in political processes
  • Influence individual behavior

Describe in greater detail how your activation will make LA the best place to connect?

Homelessness is the most pressing issue afflicting Los Angeles today. Over 57,000 people are without a home each night — 5,000 are children, and 4,000 are senior citizens. There is public consensus that something must be done, but a plurality of us has yet to agree on solutions, so little progress has been made. With the passage of Prop. HHH and Measure H to fund homeless housing and services, LA has an opportunity. How do we build the political will for tangible policies that lift the homeless, and Los Angeles, out of this crisis? Political will is entirely rooted in unity, consensus, and collaboration — in a word, connection.

LawMaker proposes building this connection with a 1-year public activation that brings LA residents, homelessness leaders, and elected officials together to answer one question: “What programs to help the homeless can you support in your neighborhood?” The public dialogue will focus on increasing awareness of key levers impacting homelessness and building support for tangible policies to help individuals and families off the streets.

LawMaker is an online platform, but not everyone has equal access to technology. To ensure broad participation, LawMaker will work with the City’s neighborhood councils to hold public events in each of LA’s city council districts. These meetings will be advertised well in advance, shared through LawMaker’s partners and the NCs, and will be streamed/transcribed online at In collaboration with the City, LawMaker will publicize these neighborhood council events as a way to truly connect and constructively discuss issues around homelessness.

To guide this public conversation toward a productive and tangible resolution, LawMaker will convene a Leadership Board of six elected officials, six leaders from the homeless service sector, and six civic leaders. This board will guide the various phases of the conversation and provide feedback to stakeholders at regular intervals. For example, problems identified in Phase 1’s open call for problem statements, will then be segmented by the Board into distinct verticals to be addressed in Phase 2, for example: affordable housing, homelessness prevention, mental health services, drug rehabilitation services, veterans programs, and safe parking zones. The elected officials and other board members will also be responsible for consolidating community feedback into draft proposals to help the homeless with programs distributed across the city. See the budget for an outline of the phased process.

The policies developed will be presented to LA residents for review and comment via public government meetings, neighborhood council meetings, and via the online voting/discussion platform at The public nature of these discussions, and the commitment made by the participating elected officials, are designed to build public support and pressure for concrete legislative action based on stakeholder input in the following legislative cycle.

How will your activation engage Angelenos to make LA the best place to connect

Connection around political issues should lead to civic progress. Yet these days, violent collision seems more common than connection, and resentment and division are left in its wake. LawMaker’s proposes to connect three large communities to spark productive civic action.

First, we hope to activate the homeless community through its many service & advocacy organizations. For too long, the homeless have been kept out of a process that directly impacts them. In concert with the City, EmpowerLA’s Homeless Liaisons, and city homeless service organizations, LawMaker intends to activate the homeless community to speak to their own experiences, present a more accurate narrative around homelessness, and propose solutions that would truly benefit them.

Second, LawMaker intends to activate the residential community of homeowners and renters who have strong feelings about homeless solutions in their communities. By asking them the question, “what programs to help the homeless can you support in your neighborhood?” we will engage them in an ideation around solutions that can earn support and mitigations that can limit negative impacts.

Third, we hope to activate the quiet majority of LA that is often unheard in civic meetings but would like to see support for our homeless neighbors. By providing an online venue to participate and share, LawMaker will reduce the barrier for many Angelenos who can’t show up to public hearings to weigh in on policies proposed for their communities.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your activation.​

The LA Times quantifies the adversaries to homelessness solutions as a “small but vocal and implacable group of opponents.” It is not uncommon for a vocal and extreme minority to sway politics when the moderate majority doesn’t feel involved in the discussion or have easy avenues to participate. LawMaker aims to change this dynamic on the LA homelessness debate.

By providing a year of publicly posted community discussions, both online and offline, our activation will make it easier for Angelenos to weigh in on homeless issues that impact their neighborhoods. LawMaker will measure the success of this effort with two key metrics.

First, we will quanify how many people participate in the yearlong discussion. This will include how many people attend public meetings, propose solutions in person or online, comment or propose amendments, and upvote/downvote ideas on LawMaker. Each of these people will have participated in the civic discourse on solving homelessness in LA. Our goal is to activate 100,000 Angelenos.

Our next success metric will focus on the results of this public discussion. Civic action should result in civic change. The success of this activation should measure that change by the housing and services created as a result of this process. A year after this activation, LawMaker will gauge the success of our endeavor by how many units of housing and dollars of services are proposed by elected officials to address homelessness in the LA area.

Where do you hope this activation or your organization will be in five years?

LawMaker has proposed this activation to show how building proactive political engagement from the grassroots can lead to tangible political solutions at all levels for government. While this activation only focuses on homelessness in LA, we built our platform to scale beyond this topic and geography. In five years, LawMaker intends to be a national online platform that allows Americans anywhere to propose ideas for policies they want to see at the city, county, state and federal levels. It is our hope that 1% of all policy discussed on the floors of government originate with a civilian authored proposals on LawMaker.