If you’ve visited Los Angeles, you’ve probably noticed that the streets are filled with homeless people.
The homeless population has increased 12% since 2013. Mayor Eric Garcetti, who took office in 2014, stated last month that his administration was constructing a plan to address this increase. The city will free up $13 million in the coming months to help house people living in sidewalk campsites.
According to the Los Angeles Times, city leaders declared the homeless population a “state of emergency” and will devote up to $100 million to help eradicate the issue. Although the emergency declaration and funding will require action by the full City Council, elected officials offered few details on how the money would be spent or where it would come from. Council President Herb Wesson promised it would be found “somehow, some way.”
“These are our fellow Angelinos,” said Garcetti. “They are those who have no other place to go, and they are literally here where we work, a symbol of our city’s intense crisis.”
Just how bad is the homelessness crisis? The problem’s reach can be seen in the clusters of tents, cardboard shelters, and shopping carts that have spread far beyond downtown’s infamous Skid Row, expanding through the neighborhoods from Studio City to Highland Park.
“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.
The emergency declaration is still under review by the City Council.
“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.