Spending on Los Angeles homeless could reach $ 1 billion as crisis spreads
The promenade along famous Sunset Boulevard is dotted with small and large encampments, often surrounded by piles of garbage, planed furniture and discarded clothing.
The funding will include nearly $ 100 million from the federal COVID rescue program, and the city hopes county, state and federal governments continue to expand their financial assistance.
It is only a guess if the surge in taxpayer dollars will bring about any visible change.
Garcetti said the homeless problem will remain without major national policy changes, including a revamped mental health care system and a so-called right to housing, which would make access to housing a right, same way that the federal government provides Medicaid and food. stamps for the needy.
In his speech, he called on the federal government to declare a national right to housing and fund vouchers that he said could help “make homelessness a thing of the past.”
Mike Arnold, president and CEO of Midnight Mission, which provides beds, meals and drug rehabilitation services on Skid Row, called the proposal “good news” but feared the dollars would dwindle after a year. .
He said he hoped the cash injection would help accelerate the slow rollout of a 2016 voter-approved bond measure to create 10,000 housing units over a decade.
Arnold is pointing the finger at New York City, which has roughly the same number of homeless people as Los Angeles and spends around a billion dollars each year to deal with its crisis. Currently, only about 25% of Los Angeles County’s 66,000 homeless are benefiting from available resources, Arnold estimates.
Arnold is also concerned that the city’s money is being poorly spent.
First, he says, the city needs enough beds for the new homeless. Then he needs interim housing for people with longer-term needs, such as addiction counseling or mental health treatment.
“And we also need affordable housing for low-income people who are mostly self-sufficient, who just need a boost. This is how a system is supposed to work, ”said Arnold.
The $ 955 million proposal will be included on Tuesday in the mayor’s annual budget plan, which must be approved by city council.
John Maceri, CEO of The People Concern, one of Los Angeles’ largest housing and social service agencies serving the homeless, welcomed the new funding, but added: “We have a long way to go. Browse.”
Along with additional funds, he said the city needs to cut red tape to increase funding and large-scale housing construction, while funding services for the homeless, many of whom suffer from drug and health problems. mental.
Taken together, “this is the answer,” Maceri said.
The speech comes at a time when the city struggles to emerge from the COVID crisis and recover from job losses due to a pandemic, slow the spread of homelessness, deal with rising rates crime and to combat racial tensions.
In his wide-ranging proposals, Garcetti also said he would seek to:
– Set up an advisory commission that could lead to the creation of a pilot slavery repair program for black residents.
– Declare a moratorium on new oil and gas drilling throughout the city.