Office of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti

 

Homelessness: How We Got Here & How L.A. is Responding

 "As your mayor, I take full responsibility for our response to this crisis... while we have housed more homeless Angelenos than ever before in our city’s history, it’s not enough. We must respond like it’s an earthquake — and do more, faster. "

- Mayor Eric Garcetti


How We Got Here

Stagnant Wages: One in five residents lives in poverty. That’s why Mayor Garcetti led the successful effort to raise L.A.’s minimum wage to $15 an hour, which is lifting incomes for more than 500,000 workers.

Housing Shortage: One-third of California renters spend half of their income on rent — and a recent study showed that if rents in L.A. County increase by 5%, another 2,000 people would fall into homelessness. Mayor Garcetti is taking on that shortage with a comprehensive, inclusive housing strategy — and he fought to pass the Affordable Housing Linkage Fee, which will generate up to $100 million a year to create affordable housing for low-income Angelenos.

Cuts to Mental Health Care: In 1981, the federal government ended its role in providing services to the mentally ill. Today, the City is marching side-by-side with the County to hire an army of 1,000 new outreach workers and service providers. Measure H is delivering $355 million each year to provide mental health, addiction, and employment services to people in desperate need.

Domestic and Sexual Abuse: Countywide, 56% of homeless women are victims of domestic violence; in Skid Row, the percentage skyrockets to almost 91%. Mayor Garcetti has funded new shelters for victims of slavery and human trafficking, and expanded our domestic abuse response teams to all 21 police divisions.

Challenges with the Implementation of Criminal Justice Reform: California voters passed sweeping criminal justice reforms on the promise that people being released from incarceration would be met on the outside with services and opportunities — funded by the savings achieved by reducing the prison population. That promise has not yet been fulfilled, at a time when up to 50% of homeless Americans have a history of incarceration. Mayor Garcetti responded by opening the first Office of Reentry since Tom Bradley was mayor, and has already connected hundreds of formerly incarcerated people to job opportunities, and many more with legal services and pathways to housing. Only 1.5% of participants in the Mayor’s New Roads to Second Chances jobs program have returned to prison, compared to the average rate of recidivism rate in California, which is estimated to exceed 66%.

Lack of Resources for Veterans: Since Mayor Garcetti took office, his 10,000 Strong jobs program has connected more than 11,000 veterans with gainful employment through its partnerships with local non-profits, employers, WorkSource Centers, and the Employment Development Department to help stabilize and further their opportunities.  

 

How L.A. is Responding

Under Mayor Garcetti’s leadership, City Hall is taking unprecedented action to end street homelessness in Los Angeles. In 2018 alone, more than 21,000 homeless Angelenos were housed across the County, compared to 9,600 in 2014.

Five years ago, less than $20 million in the City budget was earmarked for homelessness. Mayor Garcetti’s 2019-20 budget includes more than $460 million to take on the crisis. Mayor Garcetti also pushed for state funding to help accelerate the work of ending the homelessness crisis—a successful effort that resulted in an additional $166 million in state funding in 2018 and $270 million in 2019 to Los Angeles for homeless services and housing.

To address the housing shortage, we have consistently approved between 11,000 and 24,000 new housing units every year since Mayor Garcetti took office, which helped us reach our ambitious housing goal of permitting 100,000 new housing units two years ahead of schedule. In 2018 alone, we saw construction of 16,525 net new housing units—three times more than any other City in California.

Five years ago, the City and County weren’t working well together. Today, we’re working hand in hand.

Five years ago, we had no long-term funding to build new homes for unsheltered Angelenos. Today, the voters of Los Angeles have radically reshaped our future, giving us a mandate to effectively end street homelessness over the next decade.

Five years ago, City Hall wasn’t delivering comprehensive services to lift people out of homelessness for good. Today, Mayor Garcetti’s No Wrong Door Executive Directive is in full effect:

The Mayor stood up a Unified Homelessness Response Center in the City’s Emergency Operations Center, putting all critical City Departments (along with partners like the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority and Metro) at the same table to respond to the crisis together — proactively and in real-time — with services and engagement with the goal of bringing people indoors.

Our libraries help homeless patrons get IDs to access essential services … The Fire Department launched a SOBER Unit that delivers Angelenos struggling with substance abuse to treatment programs, instead of cycling in and out of the Emergency Room … The LAPD helped build a shelter bed database, so that outreach workers can connect people on the street with beds available tonight … And we opened up the ReFresh Spot on Skid Row — offering toilets, showers, laundry services, and dignity for folks who are living at the epicenter of this crisis.