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Mayor Karen Bass joined county leaders and members of the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority Commission on Jan. 23 to announce the appointment of Va Lecia Adams Kellum as the new CEO of LAHSA.
“In Dr. Adams Kellum, we are bringing new leadership to LAHSA that is completely aligned with the new spirit of unity and urgency that the city and the county are bringing to our crisis of homelessness,” said Bass, adding that Kellum was instrumental in developing the city’s new Inside Safe strategy. “With more than 40,000 unhoused people within the city of Los Angeles and more than 67,000 across the county of Los Angeles, a unified approach is the only way we can make a difference, and that’s exactly the road we’re on.”
Bass was joined by county Supervisors Janice Hahn, 4th District, and Lindsey Horvath, 3rd District, as well as LAHSA Commission chair Wendy Greuel, in making the announcement at City Hall.
“This is another example of the county and the city locking arms and pushing the reset button in how we are addressing homelessness,” said Hahn, chair of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. “I will admit I have had my doubts about LAHSA’s work. What LAHSA has done and, frankly, what our county and the city have done so far to address the homelessness crisis has not worked. But Va Lecia Adams Kellum has been tapped as the new executive director of LAHSA because she is someone who has risen to meet the homelessness crisis in a bold way. She has my full support.”
“Our dual state of emergencies is already breaking down barriers among the county, city, LAHSA and the community that has held us back in addressing our homelessness crisis,” Horvath said. “I appointed myself to the LAHSA Commission to ensure we meet this moment with the urgency it requires. Our selection of Dr. Adams Kellum to lead at this critical time brings us all that much more into alignment to deliver for the people of Los Angeles.”
Kellum was appointed as LAHSA’s new CEO the day before the organization began the 2023 Homeless Count, in which volunteers are canvassing neighborhoods to count the number of unhoused individuals living on the streets and in tents and vehicles. The Homeless Count runs through Jan. 26. The Mid City West Neighborhood Council is partnering with LAHSA to conduct the count in the local community during the evening of Jan. 26.
Kellum has also served as president and CEO of St. Joseph Center, a Venice-based social service organization offering outreach and engagement, housing, mental health programs, education and vocational services throughout Los Angeles County. The center deploys integrated, multidisciplinary teams to help the most vulnerable homeless individuals obtain and maintain stable housing. Kellum and the St. Joseph Center have been partners in Bass’ Inside Safe initiative, a citywide proactive housing-led strategy to bring people inside from tents and encampments for good, and to prevent encampments from returning.
“The alignment of the city and the county on the homelessness crisis is heartening, and I am humbled by this opportunity to serve as LAHSA’s CEO,” Kellum said. “Each of us knows the time is now for action, and that business as usual is unacceptable. We must all lock arms to create a new way forward to help our unhoused neighbors and restore our neighborhoods.”
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