The Board of Supervisors has appointed former Los Angeles County Counsel Mary Wickham as executive director of the newly formed Blue-Ribbon Commission on Homelessness.
The Blue-Ribbon Commission on Homelessness was established following the July 27 motion authored by Supervisor Kathryn Barger and co-authored by Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, to research and provide recommendations to the Board for a new homelessness governance model that is appropriate for Los Angeles County.
“It’s an honor to serve the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and the residents of Los Angeles County as executive director of the Blue-Ribbon Commission on Homelessness. I thank the board for their leadership on this issue and look forward to working with the commission to report back on governance models,” said Wickham who was hired as a 120-day retiree.
The commission will be made up of 12 members, with one appointed by each of the five Supervisors, one by the mayor of Los Angeles, three from the Los Angeles City Council president, two from the Councils of Government, and one nominated by the Contract Cities Association.
The new Commission will be housed under the Executive Office of the Board.
“The Blue-Ribbon Commission on Homelessness has brought together experts who will use their diverse perspectives to find clear, strategic solutions to the homelessness crisis in Los Angeles County,” Barger said. “I’m eager to see the commissioners, who bring representation from across the county, cut through the red tape to guide real results in our mission to provide housing, health, and mental health care to those on our streets. With the guidance of our former County Counsel Mary Wickham as the executive director, I am confident the next six months will result in thoughtful, effective outcomes.”
Wickham, who retired in July after 23 years of service, will lead the aggressive, in-depth study of the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) governance to identify intrinsic challenges of the existing system and provide recommendations for improvement to the Board within a six-month time frame. Some of those recommendations will focus on the design of an enhanced framework that ensures an accountable governance.
The Blue-Ribbon Commission on Homelessness will hold its first virtual meeting on Sept. 8.