Housing Investments Curb Houselessness

28 Apr Housing Investments Curb Houselessness

In the last 10 years, Los Angeles failed to tackle the city’s housing and houselessness issues. During that time, the City was more focused on passing harmful enforcement policies to deter encampments rather than providing real, sustainable solutions. The burdens of housing insecurity fall hardest on Black people, who comprise 6.5% of California’s population but 30% of its unhoused population. 

     Today, the housing and houselessness crisis is a leading cause of Black erasure across our city. Residents of historically Black communities are being pushed out of their homes with few paths back to permanent shelter; as the LA Times reported, “unhoused Black people are getting less help than they should.” In the County of Los Angeles, Black people represent 7.9% of the population and 34% of the 66,000 unhoused residents sleeping on the streets.

     However, the homeless population within the Latinx community increased by 25.8%, according to the  Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count Deck (released in September 2022). Latinx are 1)  likely to be undercounted in point-in-time counts, 2) are more likely to live outside of traditional homeless spaces (e.g., homeless shelters and encampments), 3) rely heavily on social networks, and 4) use public services at lower rates than other racial/ethnic groups. These are the characteristics not captured in homeless counts and, more likely than not, contribute to unstable housing for this demographic.

Stacy’s Housing Story

 Los Angeles has spiraled into a crisis, as the region has the country’s largest population of unhoused people. L.A. is home to 40% of the state’s homeless population. The City and County of Los Angeles saw the homeless population rise by 4.1% from 2020 to 69,000 people currently, an increase of 2,700 people. About 42,000 were within the City of Los Angeles, up 1.7% from 2020. With the end of eviction protections, there is an alarming concern that the homeless population will exponentially increase. 

     Due to all of these factors, as her first official action in office, Mayor Karen Bass declared a state of emergency on homelessness, activated the city’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and instituted the Inside Safe initiative, which has the goals of reducing the loss of life on Los Angeles streets, increasing access to mental health and substance abuse treatment for those living in encampments, eliminating street encampments, promoting long-term housing stability, for people experiencing homelessness and enhancing the safety and hygiene of neighborhoods, residents and businesses.

     In its first 100 days, Inside Safe moved more than 1,000 homeless people into temporary housing–with an ultimate goal of housing 17,000 by the end of the year. Starting in Venice and moving into South Los Angeles, our unhoused neighbors were given the opportunity to get off the street. That was done in partnership with the City Council, which immediately allocated $50 million to this effort.

     In her proposed $13B city budget, Mayor Bass has allocated a historic investment in community programs, including $1.3B, to address the homelessness crisis. The City Council will publicly engage in a budget review process for the next several weeks. The Council will need to show that same goodwill to continue making a difference in this human and housing crisis via the Inside Safe program. Councilmembers have until June 1 to send the budget to Bass’ desk for a final signature.

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