Los Angeles Mayor Pushes Plan to End Homelessness

LOS ANGELES (CN) – Mayor Eric Garcetti said during his State of the City address Monday that Los Angeles hopes to eradicate homelessness with an ambitious plan that includes expanding emergency shelter space, building 10,000 affordable housing units and hiring an army of outreach workers to meet with people living on the streets.

Over 57,700 people have reportedly experienced homelessness in Los Angeles County in the last year, an increase of about 23 percent from the previous year.

On Monday, Mayor Garcetti, 47, laid out Los Angeles’ accomplishments and goals for the future, including tackling the city’s growing homeless crisis.

“Let me be clear: we are here to end homelessness,” he said during his State of the City speech at Los Angeles City Hall.

That will include earmarking $20 million for emergency shelters and a total of $430 million to tackle the homeless crisis head on. The mayor said the city will also hire 1,000 outreach workers to meet with people living on the streets and aims to build 10,000 affordable housing units over the next decade.

“Homelessness isn’t an issue,” Garcetti said. “Homelessness is the issue.”

Last week, Garcetti joined a group of California mayors in support of a $1.5 billion bill that would fund housing developments and rental assistance for the state’s growing homeless population.

Garcetti – who was first elected as mayor in 2013 and won a second term last year – also painted an image of Los Angeles that bolstered its local economy with jobs in tech, aerospace and entertainment.

The city is preparing to host the 2028 Olympics by building 28 infrastructure projects. All these tasks would otherwise languish in Washington, D.C., Garcetti said, which was a recurring theme in the mayor’s speech.

“In Washington, they define themselves by how they can divide us and what they can take away,” Garcetti said.

He took another swipe at the nation’s capital later in the address, using a mathematical metaphor.

“As D.C. perfects the art of division and subtraction, we embody the power of the politics of addition and multiplication,” he said.

The mayor said the differences between the two cities include Los Angeles’ program to seize firearms from people prohibited from owning them due to felony convictions, a history of domestic violence or severe mental health issues.

Garcetti, a Democrat, has danced around the question of whether he will run for president in 2020. Over the weekend, he made a trip to Iowa that could be seen as a campaign stop, meeting with carpenters and the LGBTQ community and touring downtown Des Moines.

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