On August 26, 2019, Mayor Eric Garcetti hosted his second briefing on how the City of Los Angeles is confronting the homelessness crisis.
We are putting every available resource into getting people off the streets and under a roof as quickly as possible, helping homeless Angelenos rebuild their lives, and doing more to keep our streets and sidewalks clean and safe.
TEAMING UP, CLEANING UP
L.A.’s newly-created Skid Row Clean Team program employs 20 homeless and formerly homeless residents to provide trash pickup services at the epicenter of the homelessness crisis. This team has been deployed to the streets and sidewalks of Skid Row with a threefold mission: help clean up an area where extreme poverty cuts the deepest; train this workforce with vital skills in waste management, conflict resolution, and community engagement; and empower people in desperate need to experience the dignity of work and get on the road to self-sufficiency.
KEEPING OUR STREETS CLEAN AND SAFE
Beyond Skid Row, we are working harder to make all of our streets healthier and safer. In June, the City hired 47 new sanitation workers as part of a redeployment plan to clean our streets and sidewalks faster.
These new Comprehensive Cleaning and Rapid Engagement (CARE) teams will identify areas of highest need; provide daily trash collection, mobile restrooms, and public health services to encampments; and ensure that the hardest-hit neighborhoods receive hygiene services and regularly-scheduled cleanups.
Our CARE crews will hit the streets citywide in October. But our pilot program is already underway in South Los Angeles in Council District 9. To get a sense of where and how this is going, we’re sharing what’s been accomplished after just one month, in a single district:
- Making over 70 visits to encampments.
- Removing 8.45 tons of waste from City streets, including 335 pounds of hazardous waste.
- Connecting with 58 individuals experiencing homelessness and rendering services 189 times — from helping people recover birth certificates to handing out hygiene kits, bus tokens, and clothing.
- Linking people to emergency shelters, mental health services, bridge housing, and employment resources 25 times.
REACHING OUT TO PEOPLE IN DESPERATE NEED
On top of the outstanding work of our CARE pilot, our City-funded LAHSA outreach workers connected with more than 1,800 homeless Angelenos across Los Angeles last month — only a small fraction of the outreach conducted by County-funded personnel and resources.
Recently, the Mayor spent time with teams in Hollywood, the San Fernando Valley, South L.A., and Northeast L.A. by the banks of the L.A. River. Here are more of the results of their efforts in July:
- Sanitation teams made 376 additional visits to encampments to ensure sidewalks were passable, and our crews removed 1,499 tons of solid waste from our communities.
- We conducted 455 comprehensive cleanups at encampments.
- Our environmental compliance inspectors removed 3,028 needles from public spaces.
UNDER CONSTRUCTION: NEW ‘A BRIDGE HOME’ SHELTERS
Earlier this month, Mayor Garcetti cut the ribbon on a new A Bridge Homeshelter at the Downtown Women’s Center — making 25 beds and critical services available to women every night in Skid Row.
In the weeks ahead, we’ll nearly double the number of shelter beds available across the city, adding 100 at St. Andrews in South L.A.; 100 at Imperial in Watts; and 30 at Gardner in Hollywood. On top of that, six more sites have begun or are approaching construction — part of the total of 26 shelters we aim to open by the end of the fiscal year next July:
In addition to building emergency shelters, one of the most important pillars of our long-term strategy is to open 10,000 new units of permanent supportive housing across Los Angeles.
There are now a total of 150 of these developments in the pipeline. That includes six new projects recommended for approval as part of our Housing Innovation Challenge — which sets aside $120 million in Prop. HHH funds to identify innovative housing production models and finance up to 1,000 new homeless housing units — all of which can be built in under two years. Recommended awardees are:
Altogether, that’s 645 units designed to serve the most vulnerable Angelenos. And that’s only the beginning — as the City, the County, builders, and service providers work round-the-clock to expand housing for our homeless neighbors.
Before arriving at yesterday’s briefing, Mayor Garcetti toured Skid Row with a Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) Fast Response Vehicle team that delivers urgent care to local residents and connects those struggling with addiction with a nearby sobering center. We’re already seeing results: the Fast Response Vehicle covering Skid Row has responded to 996 incidents this year, averaging 12 engagements each day it’s in the field.
And there’s more in the works: we are looking to expand this program to the Valley and South L.A. and will soon unveil two Advance Provider Response Units in the Valley — converted ambulances with modern point-of-care testing and patient referral capabilities, led by medical professionals and firefighters with public health training.
The City of Los Angeles is dedicating every available resource to solutions to this crisis. But decades of disinvestment by the state and federal governments have contributed to this crisis — and we know that state and federal partnership can help us solve it.
With the state legislature in the final weeks of its session for the year, the Mayor has called for the passage of three bills:
- Assemblymember Chiu's measure — AB 1482 — to protect renters from skyrocketing costs and unfair evictions.
- Assemblymember Santiago's legislation — AB1197 — to provide a blanket CEQA exemption for all HHH-funded supportive housing, our A Bridge Home sites, and all state-backed shelters.
- Senator Mitchell’s proposal — SB 329 — to strengthen protections for low-income residents by expanding anti-income discrimination provisions for Section 8 and other vouchers across California
We also remain focused on Washington D.C. In July, Congresswoman Karen Bass led several members of the Congressional Black Caucus on a visit to Skid Row.
In mid-August, Chairwoman Maxine Waters led a field hearing of the Financial Services Committee, where Mayor Garcetti asked Congress to pass:
- Congresswoman Waters’ Ending Homelessness Act; and
- Senator Feinstein and Congressman Lieu’s bipartisan Fighting Homelessness Through Services and Housing Act.
Please contact your representatives in Sacramento and Washington D.C. and make your voices heard on these vital pieces of legislation. You can look up your state representatives here, and you can find contact information for your federal representatives here.
As Los Angeles rises to this unprecedented challenge of confronting our homelessness crisis, we will continue to let you know how we are doing and how you can help.
Please visit our website to find out how you can join our work to help our homeless neighbors.