On Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a motion co-authored by Supervisors Kathryn Barger and Janice Hahn directing the County’s chief executive officer to explore creating an office to exclusively coordinate Los Angeles County’s work and partnerships with houses of worship and other faith-based organizations.
“Faith-based entities are essential and trusted partners that can quickly help the County reach those who are most in need,” said Supervisor Kathryn Barger. “I’m convinced that when we work together, the County is able to support and uplift communities more efficiently. This is about standing shoulder to shoulder with the organizations that are already serving their communities and working smarter.”
“Our faith and community based organizations are treasured, trusted parts of the communities that they serve,” said Supervisor Janice Hahn. “As a safety net for our most vulnerable residents, the County’s work is complimented and enriched by the collaboration of these groups, and I look forward to deepening our engagement with them through this office. It’s a natural partnership and one we haven’t taken enough advantage of.”
The office would serve as a broker that proactively connects County initiatives with faith-based organizations and would offer technical assistance to help houses of worship do business with the County. The office would also establish uniform countywide guidelines to help departments address questions raised about church-state separation.
The motion highlighted the City of Pasadena’s Clergy Community Coalition as a model that has successfully reduced administrative burdens and onerous insurance requirements, and helped that municipality reimburse local faith-based organizations that sheltered people experiencing homelessness during inclement weather.
A report back to the board of supervisors is due in 90 days. It will include a recommendation for the most appropriate department for the future office to reside.