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Mayor launches program to target homelessness

Offers services, employment development help

OW Staff Writer | 9/24/2015, 11:22 a.m.
Mayor Eric Garcetti Tuesday announced what he said are the first steps of a comprehensive strategy to address the homelessness ...

Mayor Eric Garcetti Tuesday announced what he said are the first steps of a comprehensive strategy to address the homelessness crisis in Los Angeles, an effort that would invest at least $100 million annually in City funding to help house tens of thousands of homeless individuals.

To address immediate needs, Mayor Garcetti also announced a critical short-term strategy to secure an additional $13 million in emergency funding to expand homeless services and housing. The bulk of that funding, $10 million, will be allocated to veterans and non-chronically homeless people in the form of housing subsidies—to rapidly re-house individuals who need short-term assistance to get off the street and on with their lives.

The mayor called for shelters to remain open 24 hours a day during the rainy season, and for winter shelter availability to expand by two months. The Mayor also proposed seed money to incentivize new storage and access centers across the city — that would provide access to restrooms, showers, laundry, and services, as well as providing safe storage for personal possessions.

This initiative comes as Los Angeles City Council leaders declared homelessness in Los Angeles a “state of emergency” and introduced a motion to allocate $100 million in one-time funding for homeless services.

“We all understand the urgency that this situation requires, and what is at stake,” said Mayor Garcetti. “I applaud the Los Angeles City Council for their action (Tuesday) in earmarking a necessary initial investment that helps launch my comprehensive plan to tackle homelessness. 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.”

The City Council’s action is a critical down payment on the Mayor’s comprehensive homelessness plan, which is being developed jointly by city, county, Home for Good and other partners.

In addition to one-time funding, the Mayor is calling for an annual $100 million investment that would fund permanent housing for the homeless and establish an institutional foundation to tackle homelessness for years to come.

The plan relies on three pillars, which set both short and long-term goals: (1) Securing housing for homeless Angelenos, by scaling up the Coordinated Entry System (CES)—including a substantial increase in permanent supportive housing, housing subsidies, and supportive services; (2) Keeping at-risk individuals and families from becoming homeless through new investments in affordable housing—and enforcing the $15/hour minimum wage increase signed into law last June; and (3) Implementing further strategies to better balance the health and safety of the streets with the rights and needs of those forced to live on them—including the development of regional access centers that provide free personal property storage, access to clean restrooms, shower facilities, and laundry machines, and connecting homeless individuals with shelter services and permanent housing.

Connecting homeless Angelenos—and those most at risk of becoming homeless—with good jobs can help end the cycle of homelessness.

Mayor Garcetti also launched today the Los Angeles Regional Initiative for Social Enterprise (LA:RISE), an initiative focused on fostering workforce development solutions for individuals who face the greatest barriers to employment– those with a history of homelessness or incarceration, and disconnected youth.