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Miguel Santiago
Assemblyman Miguel Santiago. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

Los Angeles Lawmakers Propose $20 Billion, Multi-Year Homeless Crisis Plan

‘California is the end result of where homeless people go’

By Evan Symon, May 4, 2021 2:45 am

Several Los Angeles lawmakers joined the growing movement to enact a $20 billion plan to give California cities funds to combat against the homeless crisis on Monday.

Speaking at the Skid Row Housing Trust, Assemblyman Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles), Councilman Kevin de Leon, and Councilwoman Monica Gonzalez announced that they would be joining the movement by California lawmakers to get the increased funding, which would be doled out in $4 billion increments to cities over five years.

“Homelessness is a growing dystopian nightmare of all cities,” said Councilman de Leon, whose district includes Skid Row, on Monday. “We must act with a sense of urgency to meet this humanitarian crisis with, let me underscore, unprecedented investments,” de Leon said. I asked former members of the California Senate and Assembly to sign a letter calling on the California state legislature and the governor to commit over $20 billion over the next five years to build housing and combat homelessness throughout California.

“The state should provide the funding with spending guidelines to hold cities accountable for how efficiently the money is used.”

The other lawmakers highlighted the homeless problem specifically in Los Angeles, mentioning the added hardships that the COVID-19 pandemic placed on homeless people.

“We’re here to fight for the dollars that are much needed,” explained Assemblyman Santiago. “If you take a look around, close to 5,000 people in a few square blocks live on the streets. And here’s why it’s timely: during COVID, we learned a lot about communities getting left behind, but if you were homeless, not only did you get let behind, you got left our in the cold and the heat, you got left our with no resources, no COVID testing, vaccines are still problem, there’s not a roof over your head, no food to eat or even clean water. That shouldn’t happen in the fifth largest economy in the world.

Los Angeles Mayor
Eric Garcetti. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

“We are asking for the largest, boldest investment in homelessness funding. We’re asking for radical change in the way we solve homelessness.”

The lawmakers join several other prominent lawmakers, including all Mayors of California’s 13 largest cities (Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, San Francisco, Fresno, Sacramento, Long Beach, Oakland, Bakersfield, Anaheim, Riverside, Santa Ana, and Stockton) to try and get the funding, making the effort bipartisan.

“We’re not coming in empty hats in hand, we’re coming with hard hats on and pockets already full of investments,” said LA Mayor Eric Garcetti on Thursday. “Behind each one of us, you see how we spend it: It’s for shelter, it’s for permanent housing, it’s for cleanups, it’s for services, it’s for everything that we need to address the complexity of homelessness.”

Adding to the effort was a controversial District Court ruling made last week that forces Los Angeles to give every homeless person in Skid Row housing if they want it. While LA County is now appealing that ruling, it gave additional fodder to the lawmakers to have others press for the $20 billion funding passage.

Many oppose Forcing $20 billion plan on state legislature

Despite the growing support, many lawmakers and organizers remain adamant that the $20 billion effort is not the way to go.

“California is the end result of where homeless people go,” said Los Angeles-based homeless advocate Sawyer Hollis to the Globe. “The warm weather, the laxer laws, and a built-in homeless advocacy network are but a few of the benefits to them here, although in recent years most homeless growth from people coming into California has slowed. From people we’ve talked to, they are actually warning people to stay away from California now.

“Most of the growth has come from inside of California. A lot of lost jobs, COVID, and rising housing costs have been pushing up numbers, even with all those COVID renter protection laws in place.

“More money isn’t the only solution though. It’s making more affordable housing really. That’s the main thing. You can pump all the money you want into shelters, but in the long-term it won’t work unless you work with developers and landlords and start instituting more affordable unit minimums so that more people are housed and that developers can still make money. That has at least alleviated the problem in many areas of the world. Not gotten rid of. Alleviated. But it wouldn’t cost $20 billion to put into place.

“This is just more short-term housing money that doesn’t fix the issue. California can’t afford to think that way, in more ways than one.”

More lawmakers are likely to sign the $20 billion state demand in the coming weeks to put additional pressure on the legislature to bring it up in Sacramento.

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8 thoughts on “Los Angeles Lawmakers Propose $20 Billion, Multi-Year Homeless Crisis Plan

  1. “California is the end result of where homeless people go,” said Los Angeles-based homeless advocate Sawyer Hollis to the Globe. “The warm weather, the laxer laws, and a built-in homeless advocacy network are but a few of the benefits to them here…”

    The “built-in homeless advocacy network” is probably the biggest draw to these people, in conjunction with the mild climate…

    Two generations of “caring, compassionate leadership”, most recently by LA’s own buffoon of a mayor, Eric Garcetti, have now flooded the region with the mentally ill, the drug addicted and the genuine down on their luck folks, thanks to their “tolerance” and “compassion”…

    San Franfreakshow is even WORSE, so now we have a state that is awash in the problem, so what do California politicians do? Yep, what they do best – THROW BUCKETS OF MONEY AT THE PROBLEM!!!
    Money that they don’t HAVE, and history has proven that the funds are usually WASTED, given away to their connections and spent inefficiently, if at all…
    So what does that mean? Yep, get ready for fees and taxes to go up on residents who AREN’T ” experiencing homelessness” so we get the joy of paying for a problem that none of us caused or wanted, thanks to the failed policies of the “caring compassionate” Democrat failures that keep getting elected in this dysfuncyiobally UNmanaged state…
    They always trot out the “fifth largest economy in the world” tired bromide, so maybe Nero Zuckerberg and all the brainiac billionaires at all the Bay Area tech companies can dig deep and pay THEIR “fair share” of this program, because THEY voted these morons INTO office, so now LET THEM PAY for their moronic “leaders'” bad policies!!!

  2. No California Globe reader can possibly believe at this point that this new push for $20 BILLION is anything more than a slush fund for these politicians and their cronies. Meanwhile, the homeless/vagrant crisis in CA will only get worse.
    Let’s just take, as an example, former State Senator, now L.A. Councilman Kevin De Leon. Let’s put aside for now that he was unable to lead the Pledge of Allegiance at a recent council meeting because he doesn’t KNOW the Pledge of Allegiance. For YEARS he represented a district plagued by vagrants and drugs and filth. If he had the least interest in doing anything about homelessness he would have addressed it then, but he didn’t. He had ZERO interest in following or pushing models that have been shown to work. That’s because he doesn’t care about the issue; he has other fish to fry, other agenda to fulfill. He is ambitious, he wants power, he is a La Raza guy who advantages those who are in the country illegally at the same time that he doesn’t care about their welfare. Check out this four year old video:
    “Kevin De Leon facilitates forgery and I.D. theft. Look at his district”

  3. Well, the carrot experiment didn’t work. Time to go back to the stick. Build encampments in the massive military bases in the Mojave area, offering sleeping quarters, three meals, showers, mental health and substance abuse treatment, medical treatment, trade classes and other benefits. Then enact laws that make it illegal to set up camps on public property, or to sleep in cars, or to dump human waste on public or private property. Then have the police officers give warnings and point them to the desert encampment and offer transportation. If they are down on their luck, this will provide for their well-being temporarily to get them started in a new path. Anyone refusing to accept the option and who continues to camp out on the streets will be arrested and charged with criminal violations. After all, Newsom just made room in the prisons. In prison, these homeless arrestees will be forced to submit to the benefits available at the desert encampments as a condition of their sentence. Except they won’t be free to come and go. I’ll bet the cost of all this will be a sliver of what Garcetti and the other incompetents have spent so far. Enough playing paddy cakes with a problem that needs fixing NOW.

  4. YES, Abe! Can’t think of much you haven’t covered, so thoroughly and yet so succinctly. We do have to change some laws and write some new ones, but this is the model to shoot for to get people the help they need, and more cheaply, without interfering with the efficient running of a city center, as Edward Ring has often noted. The downtown missions, particularly the one I know best, L.A. Union Rescue Mission, does address the approximately 20% of the population who are down on their luck and who want to get back and will get back on their feet in 3-6 months time. They have also had many miracle transformations of so-called hopeless alcoholics and drug addicts, through their faith-based program, but for the lion’s share, I’m all on board with the plan you have laid out so well. Won’t happen overnight, but this is exactly the direction in which we need to go.

  5. It is so obscene, they are on board with their hands out ready to do more of the same, just one big circular screw up! Round and round we go.
    I like Abe’s plan. Unfortunately, it makes too much sense and could quite possibly end the crisis.

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