LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – In his annual address to the city Monday night, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti proposed a budget plan for the next fiscal year that would spend nearly $1 billion to address the ongoing homeless crisis.
During his speech, Garcetti pointed out that the city spent only $10 million on the homeless when he became mayor in 2013.
READ MORE: Venice’s handball courts are being cleared of the homeless camp after serious complaints.
There is real hope on the horizon in our fight against homelessness, but our justice budget will not wait for the cavalry, Garcetti said. We put our money where our heart is.
Garcetti’s budget recommendations for the upcoming fiscal year 2021-22 include $791 million in new funds to address homelessness, an additional $160 million in unspent funds from the previous fiscal year, for a total of $951 million, according to the Los Angeles Times report.
On Monday, Los Angeles County government also released its recommended budget for 2021-22, which includes $426.7 million to combat homelessness. That budget will be presented Tuesday to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.
The urgency to address homelessness in the southern state is compounded by the strife caused by the coronavirus pandemic. On social media, people are posting videos of clashes in and around encampments across the city, including in Venice, where there appears to be a growing homeless population.
The mayor is a brilliant speaker, said Rev. Andy Bales, executive director of the Union Rescue Mission. He touched on many topics, but I didn’t feel like there was enough time for homelessness, given the difficulties we were facing.
READ MORE: Los Angeles is expanding facilities for homeless seniors after the government agreed to fund 100% of the cost.
Bales said the mayor may have good intentions, but the current strategy just isn’t working. He says the city should buy land and mobile homes or tiny houses – cheaper and less time-consuming solutions.
We need to get rid of these slow-moving, expensive devices, Bales said. This plan to spend a huge amount of money on one person will result in thousands and thousands of people dying in the streets. And in these overpriced machines, alcohol and drugs flow abundantly, and in my opinion we need to return to a more recreational model.
In late March, dozens of people were arrested in protests against the dismantling of a large homeless camp at Echo Park Lake and the indefinite closure of the park to repair some $500,000 in damage.
Last week, Reseda residents expressed anger over a community of about 50 tiny houses being built in their neighborhood to house the homeless.
Earlier this month, a member of the Los Angeles City Council asked the city to look into creating temporary housing for the homeless in several coastal communities, including Pacific Palisades and Venice. Nearly 15,000 people have signed a petition against the idea.
The pre-pandemic count of homelessness in Los Angeles County in January counted 66,433 people living on the streets in Los Angeles County, an increase of 12.7% over the previous year.
The city’s full address can be found on Twitter.
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