LOS ANGELES, Calif. — The Los Angeles City Council today unanimously approved $18 million to house the chronically homeless, after a vote on the issue last Friday was cut short when a councilman walked out of the meeting.
The construction of 136 units of “permanent supportive housing” that include counseling, health and financial planning services would satisfy the Jones Settlement, a deal struck in 2007 after six homeless people sued the city, challenging a law that made it illegal for them to sit or lie on sidewalks.
The city agreed to build 1,250 units of housing specifically serving the needs of individuals who have difficulty retaining a stable place of residence.
Half of the housing units were to be built in downtown Los Angeles and the other half throughout the city. The city has fulfilled the requirement for downtown units but still needs to build 136 more homes in neighborhoods outside downtown Los Angeles.
The city’s commitment of $18 million in general funds could be used to obtain an additional $100 million in state money, according to Housing Department General Manager Mercedes Marquez.
The Council today voted 13-0 to approve the funds. Council members also voted 5-8 against Councilwoman Jan Perry’s amendment to eliminate an incentive encouraging developers to build public storage, laundry or restroom facilities.
Last week, the amendment sparked a tense exchange between the councilwoman and Councilman Richard Alarcon, who stormed out of the chambers, leaving behind just nine council members, not enough to fulfill a quorum and vote on the issue.
Perry said including the incentive would make it difficult to push through projects in communities resistant to building projects for the homeless.
Alarcon said he wanted to ensure that developers were encouraged to build facilities for transients in his district who may need those public facilities.
The issue was continued to this morning’s city council meeting, which was attended by 13 council members.