City Council President Herb Wesson said members of the council’s Homelessness and Poverty Committee, which is co-chaired by councilmen Jose Huizar and Marqueece Harris-Dawson, will introduce a motion at this morning council meeting calling for $100 million to be dedicated to services for the homeless, particularly permanent supportive housing and shelter programs. “Every single day, we come to work, we see folks lying on this grass, a symbol of our city’s intense crisis”, he said.
There are an estimated 26,000 homeless people living in the city, and a vast majority of that population is living in the streets. It has risen about 11 percent since 2013.
Callaghan said she feared the bulk of the new money would go toward “reducing the visibility” of the homeless ahead of a proposed bid to bring the Olympics to Los Angeles in 2024, which includes about $6 billion in public and private spending.
Finally they plan to declare declare a state of emergency on homelessness and spend $100 million.
Under another of Garcetti’s proposals, storage and access centers in the city would provide restrooms, showers, laundry and storage space. “A hundred million certainly won’t build much housing – and what we really have here is a housing crisis”. “We wanted the mayor to know that we had his back”. Keith Ackerman, executive director of Cottages at Hickory Crossing, told Huffington Post that the initiative will bring down those costs to less than $13,000 per year.
“This is the fallout of not having anywhere near the affordable housing that’s needed”, said Megan Hustings, the interim director of the National Coalition for the Homeless, a Washington-based advocacy group.
One likely source for the funding is the city’s reserve funds, which now have an unexpected extra allocation of about $60 million, according to Ben Ceja, the city’s assistant administrative officer.
The emergency declaration could allow Los Angeles to receive federal funding to combat the problem, according to Wesson’s office. “We all understand the urgency that this situation requires, and what is at stake”, Garcetti said in response to the council’s announcement.
“The council, the mayor and the county have been working closer on this probably than any issue I’ve worked on”, Garcetti said.
According to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, in the past two years homelessness in the city has increased 12-percent.
City of Los Angeles Declare State of Emergency on Homeless