LOS ANGELES (CN) – The LA City Council on Tuesday declared a state of emergency on homelessness and said it will commit $100 million to help tens of thousands of people living on the streets.
LA City Council President Herb Wesson and members of the city’s Homelessness and Poverty Committee announced a new motion this morning for a one-time funding bill – a piece of a plan that Mayor Eric Garcetti has developed with the city, county and other groups.
“We all understand the urgency that this situation requires, and what is at stake,” Garcetti said in response to the council’s announcement. “I applaud the Los Angeles City Council for their action today 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.”
LA has projected it will draw down funds on Jan. 1, 2016 to provide permanent housing and shelters for the city’s 26,000 homeless people.
“The city council’s actions are meant to raise awareness of the seriousness of the issue and dedicate funding to address the uptick in number of individuals and families living on the streets,” councilman Gilbert Cedillo’s office said in a statement.
Garcetti also announced today that the city will spend an additional $13 million 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,” Garcetti’s office said in a statement.
Garcetti is pushing for shelters to open their doors 24 hours a day to the homeless in the rainy season and extend winter shelter access by an additional two months over the winter.
Under another of Garcetti’s proposals, storage and access centers in the city would provide restrooms, showers, laundry and storage space.
The mayor wants an additional $100 million in funding for permanent housing and a homeless foundation.
LA is also partnering with the nonprofit REDF to launch the Los Angeles Regional Initiative for Social Enterprise that will aid homeless individuals who want to make the transition into the workplace. The U.S. Department of Labor has invested $6 million in the initiative, according to the mayor’s office.
“REDF is proud to partner with the city of Los Angeles and commends their commitment to growing the social enterprise space, a proven approach to supporting those facing the greatest barriers to work,” REDF president Carla Javits said. “These investments reinforce an American ideal that is central to our collective identity and a sense of dignity, hope and belonging – that every person should have an equal opportunity to achieve success and prosperity through hard work, determination and initiative.”
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