Los Angeles declares ‘state of emergency’ on homelessness
LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday declared a state of emergency on homelessness, calling for $100 million to help address the growing crisis.
The move, which was reported in a statement from the office of Mayor Eric Garcetti, was announced the same day the mayor unveiled his plans for moving people off the streets.
“We all understand the urgency that this situation requires, and what is at stake,” Garcetti said. “I applaud the Los Angeles City Council for their action today in earmarking a necessary initial investment that helps launch my comprehensive plan to tackle homelessness.”
Since the mayor took office two years ago, homelessness in Los Angeles has increased 12%, according to figures released by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority.
The state of emergency motion mentioned some of the reasons why, including a shortage of affordable housing and the lack of emergency shelter.
Los Angeles has one of the largest unsheltered populations in the country, and more than an estimated 25,000 homeless residents. Some of those men and women live on the city’s infamous Skid Row, a makeshift camp on public sidewalks that stretches for blocks.
The motion described the homelessness crisis as “unprecedented and growing.”
“The proposal is more than just words. It calls for the fast-tracking of and a special, streamlined process for affordable housing. It also makes it easier for nonprofits and faith institutions to operate shelters and safe parking programs, and opens up the possibility for the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority to use city facilities for the same purpose,” said Council member Mike Bonin.
In addition to the one-time $100 million funding proposed by the council, Mayor Garcetti is calling for an annual $100 million to fund permanent housing for the homeless and to set up a foundation dedicated to the issue, his office said.
In the short term, he wants $13 million in emergency funding to grow homeless services and housing, most of which would be allocated in the form of subsidies.
“If we can lift up those in need, and pick up those left behind, then we can live up to the best of our ideals,” Garcetti said.