Homelessness has gotten so bad in Los Angeles that the city council has declared a state of emergency. The council is asking for $100 million to help solve the massive issue.
The declaration was reported by Mayor Eric Garcetti, who also announced major plans for removing people from the streets of the city.
Garcetti said, “We all understand the urgency that this situation requires, and what is at stake. 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.”
The rate of homelessness in the city has grown by 12% since Garcetti took office two years ago. A shortage of affordable housing and a lack of emergency shelters are said to be the causes for this rate increase.
Los Angeles is home to one of the nation’s largest homeless population. An estimated 25,000 Los Angeles residents are homeless. Many live on the city’s infamous Skid Row, which is more of a makeshift campsite than a public street. Skid Row stretches for blocks across the city’s public sidewalks.
According to the state of emergency declaration, the homeless situation in the city is “unprecedented and growing”.
City council member Mike Bonin said, “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.”
Beyond the one-time $100 million requested in the declaration, Garcetti also wants an annual amount of $100 million in order to pay for permanent housing for homeless people. He also wants to create a foundation dedicated to the problem.
Meanwhile, Garcetti is also requesting an immediate $13 million for emergency funding to expand services for the homeless. This money would also be used for housing, most of which would come 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,” said the Mayor.