Mayor Garcetti joins City, County, Assembly leaders to call for State to pass $1.5 billion to address California’s homelessness crisis

LOS ANGELES — Elected officials representing the greater Los Angeles area called on Sacramento today to allocate $1.5 billion from the state budget to help cities find, build, and expand housing for their homeless populations. Mayor Garcetti was joined by Assemblymembers Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles), Laura Friedman (D-Glendale), Wendy Carrillo (D-Los Angeles), Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis, and City Councilmember Jose Huizar to ask for the new state funding for homelessness.

If the funding passed, nearly 52,000 Angelenos would receive housing and services over a three year period — including homelessness prevention for nearly 11,000 vulnerable people.

In his May budget revision, Governor Brown proposed spending $359 million of the state’s $8.8 billion surplus on one-time funding to address homelessness. Of that funding, $250 million would be reserved for a new program, the Homeless Emergency Block Grant, which would provide block grants to Continuums of Care (CoCs) in jurisdictions that have declared a shelter crisis.

Tomorrow, the Budget Conference Committee will meet and begin to negotiate the final state budget for the year, including funding for services, shelters, and housing for homeless residents. A budget must be passed by the legislature by June 15th.

“Los Angeles has put its local dollars on the line to pull people from the grips of homelessness – and now it’s time for Sacramento to do the same,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “I appreciate Governor Brown’s commitment to addressing this urgent moral and humanitarian crisis, but we need even more funding to shelter our homeless neighbors today. If the state comes through, we would have a clear path to housing for every unsheltered Angeleno.”

At the local level, these new dollars would support long-term solutions to homelessness, including adding $50 million to the City’s supportive housing pipeline, and $32 million in new rapid rehousing dollars. It would also immediately provide for emergency measures, including $275 million for temporary shelters, navigation centers, bridge housing, thousands of new shelter beds, and new mobile hygiene centers.

California’s homeless population now stands at 134,278, according to 2017 statewide counts – an increase of 16 percent from 2015. Cities across the state are acting to provide shelter and services with money from their own general funds and voter-approved ballot measures, but those aren’t enough.

Below, elected officials representing Los Angeles speak about the impact of homelessness on their communities and the need for this legislation:

“It makes no sense – no sense – that we are now the 5th largest economy in the nation and yet we have people who live on the streets in California because they cannot afford a place to live,” said Assemblymember Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles). “I represent Skid Row, and the faces of people living there have changed over the years,” continued Santiago. “Now, amongst the 8,000 people living in homelessness in that area, we see young families and small children who cannot afford a house, an apartment, or even a garage where they can lay their head at night. This funding is vital to reversing this trend.”

Santiago further noted that “Housing and basic safety net services should not be for the privileged few who can afford them. If we are going to stem the tide of our homelessness epidemic, we must, as a state, take action immediately.”

"Communities up and down the state are grappling with this humanitarian crisis,” said Assemblymember Laura Friedman (D-Glendale). “This funding will be critical for the housing, health care, and supportive services that every city needs to care for our most vulnerable residents, and I'm proud to be part of a caucus that's committed to doing what's right."

“On any given night in Los Angeles County, we have a staggering number of 55,000 homeless persons seeking refuge, and unfortunately Latinos and African-Americans make up about 75% of that population,” said Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo (D-Los Angeles). “While the challenge is daunting, we must step up to find solutions, much as the voters of Los Angeles did when they approved Measures H and HHH. In the Legislature, we need to build on that momentum and ensure our budget reflects the commitment of Los Angeles to address an issue that consistently affects our most vulnerable Californians.”

“More than 40% of California’s homeless population is right here in Los Angeles County,” said County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis. “At L.A. County, we are implementing innovative programs to help combat this crisis, such as mobile shower units, working closely with local jurisdictions to build more affordable housing stock, and increasing the number of highly skilled multidisciplinary outreach teams to provide services and directing them to where they are needed most. However, funding from the State will be critical to support and enhance the work we are already doing. Los Angeles taxpayers are fighting this crisis with their hard-earned dollars, and now it is time for our representatives in Sacramento and the Governor to do the same.”

“The City and County of Los Angeles have created comprehensive homelessness strategies and billions of dollars in funding to implement our goals, but we cannot do it alone,” said Councilmember José Huizar. “We need the State of California to treat homelessness like the crisis it is and help us end the misery and human suffering on the streets of Los Angeles as quickly as possible. With state funding, we can save lives.”

State Assembly Budget Proposal
The State Assembly budget proposal includes $1.5 billion for Emergency Homeless Aid Block Grants for cities and counties. The proposal also includes additional funds for CalWORKS Homeless and Housing supports, Homeless and Mental Illness Programs, funding for homeless seniors, and changes to the Low Income Housing Tax Credit Cap.