L.A. homelessness draws federal attention

homeless-veterans-ptsd-videoStruggling to slow L.A.’s spike in homelessness, city leaders have booked an appointment with the federal government.

“Secretary Julian Castro will be in Los Angeles on Tuesday to meet with Mayor Eric Garcetti, City Council members and county supervisors, HUD spokesman George Gonzalez said,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

Hoping for cash

Despite the crisis, which has drawn unfavorable media attention amid L.A.’s recent boom in homeless-heavy areas like the city’s downtown, expectations were set low. “No major announcement was expected to come out of the meeting. Gonzalez said it was intended as an ‘exchange of ideas’ on the state of homelessness in Los Angeles,” the Times added.

City leaders hope the agency’s concern could manifest in additional funds to fight what Mayor Eric Garcetti has declared a public emergency around homelessness, as Los Angeles city and country governments both prioritized the issue. As the New York Times reported last month, the announcement marked the first time a U.S. city had made such a proclamation. “National experts on homelessness say Los Angeles has had a severe and persistent problem with people living on the streets rather than in shelters — the official estimate is 26,000,” noted the Times.

Uncertain goals

After announcing his initiative, Garcetti said, “he received a call from Castro, who had toured Skid Row earlier this year,” as the Los Angeles Daily News reported.

“The focus on homelessness came after a count conducted this year by Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority showed that the number of homeless people in the county increased by 12 percent since 2013. More than 44,000 people are homeless in Los Angeles County and about 70 percent of them live on the streets, in vehicles or in make-shift encampments.”

Questions remained as to what exactly Castro intended to accomplish through his visit. “He did indicate several times that HUD approved of the way that local elected officials were tackling homelessness,” Southern California Public Radio observed; in remarks, Castro noted that “more than anything else, I’m here […] to listen,” while insisting that “criminalizing homelessness is not the best approach. That is something that HUD has recognized very firmly.”

Despite the focus on L.A.’s significance to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, city officials appeared to place their funding hopes in the Federal Emergency Management Administration. Although former Secretary of Labor and current L.A. Supervisor Hilda Solis recently invoked the agency, the Daily News observed, its spokesman for the area covering Los Angeles threw doubt on the idea. “For homelessness, I’ve never heard that as a cause of an emergency because that’s a local social issue that would generally be handled at the city or county or state level,” he said.

A big pledge

In the interim, Los Angeles has pledged to allocate substantial sums to curbing homelessness, which has become an especially galling problem among veterans. “Members of the City Council say they are working on a $100 million plan to combat homelessness,” SCPR reported. “County supervisors this month voted to boost spending on homelessness to $100 million for the year. Earlier, Mayor Eric Garcetti had said he would release a blueprint to end homelessness in August.”

Garcetti’s priorities around urban issues have not been without their critics. At a recent speech in South Los Angeles, the mayor was confronted by Jefferson Park protesters, some of whom pounded on his vehicle and demanded the resignation of the current Los Angeles Police Department chief Charlie Beck. “I am disappointed that our conversation was cut short when there is so much work for us to do together to make our neighborhoods stronger and safer,” Garcetti later remarked, according to CBS Los Angeles. “I believe in our city and my commitment to our shared concerns continues stronger than ever.”

7 comments

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  1. 4sure
    4sure 23 October, 2015, 08:23

    California is being turned into a great big cesspool thanks to the efforts of Civil Rights groups, attorneys and courts who read between the lines to interpret what the Bill of Rights intended. I have heard many say regarding the 2nd Amendment that our forefathers never intended that people have access to assault weapons , If this were true, would it be unreasonable to say that they also never intended for the rest of the bill of rights to enable and facilitate a codependent population that is free to impose their dysfunction on society, have a total disregard for the environment, personal responsibility and the ability to trespass at will?

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  2. Skep41
    Skep41 23 October, 2015, 09:45

    Of all the ideas ever proposed to deal with homelessness giving the corrupt, bungling bureaucrats mismanaging the city of Los Angeles a big bag of cash is probably the worst. I think a better idea would be to create a list of Los Angeles residents who are regular donors to leftist causes and who live in houses with a square footage in excess of 3,000 and divide the homeless equally among them. True redistribution that these caring Progressives will undoubtedly fight to participate in!

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  3. Luddite
    Luddite 23 October, 2015, 10:01

    Poor reporting. These were not “Jefferson Park protesters” — they were a part of the national (or so they said) “Black Lives Matter” movement. And they didn’t just pound on the Mayor’s car. One jumped on the trunk and jumped on it before being pulled off. Moreover, the Mayor wasn’t “confronted”, he was surrounded by yelling, screaming BLMers. He had to leave the church (!) where he was speaking surrounded by burly cops. Life in LA in the 21st Century.

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  4. Bill Gore
    Bill Gore 23 October, 2015, 10:13

    44,000 homeless in LA? WOW! And I thought the USA was the great compassionate super-power that bombs its way around the world to get rid of foreign governments that are not sufficiently compassionate. Solution: a massive tent city in Malibu and Pacific Paisades, 22,000 people each. Problem solved!

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    • Skep41
      Skep41 23 October, 2015, 10:26

      I cant let you just stiff Bel Air, Encino, and Studio City as if they dont exist. Compassion is for everybody!

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  5. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 23 October, 2015, 11:09

    Prolonged massive population growth meets Sacramento’s ” era of recognizeable limitations” ….freeways…..energy…..coastal/forest…..spotted chickens.

    Meaning: you cannot have it your way……..and survive-

    Reply this comment
  6. Spurwing Plover
    Spurwing Plover 24 October, 2015, 07:24

    Remember back in the 1990’s that while a homeless vet was sleeping ina cardboard box and a draft dodger,traitpr and rapists slept in the whitehouse

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