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Los Angeles Will Declare a State of Emergency to Deal With Its Homelessness Problem

As of now, though, it's unclear where the $100 million will come from or how it will be used.
Some of Los Angeles' homeless population on Skid Row.

Some of Los Angeles' homeless population on Skid Row. Image via Flickr user IK

City officials in Los Angeles announced Tuesday that they plan to declare a "state of emergency" in regards to the city's homelessness problem, and will put $100 million in taxpayer funds toward combatting the issue, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The proposal, outlined at a press conference attended by members of LA Mayor Eric Garcetti and members of the city council, would commit significant resources to dealing with homelessness in a city where it is estimated that 13,000 people lapse into homelessness every month and nearly 26,000 people are homeless at any given time.


"If we want to be a great city that hosts the Olympics and shows itself off to the world, we shouldn't have 25,000 to 50,000 people sleeping on the streets," City Councilman Gilbert Cedillo told theTimes.

It's not clear where the $100 million will come from. The Associated Press reports that city officials did not seem to have worked that out Tuesday, but said that their budget analysts would find the funds "somehow, someway." According to the AP report, the initial funding will be released on January 1, 2016 and will be used to secure "housing and shelter" for LA's homeless.

But local homelessness advocates said that the $100 million won't be enough to adequately address LA's homeless issue. As Skid Row activist Alice Callaghan pointed out to the AP, the LA funding pales in comparison to New York City's ten-year, $41 billion "Housing New York" project, which calls for the construction of 200,000 affordable housing units, and shifts the city's focus on the homeless from shelters to creating long-term affordable housing options.

"$100 million certainly won't build much housing," Callaghan said, "and what we really have here is a housing crisis."

A recent analysis of homelessness in LA by The Atlantic's CityLab confirms this view, noting that "the majority of the city's homeless are "people who need to be rapidly rehoused after experiencing a crisis like losing their homes after losing a job, missing rent, and then being evicted amid rock-bottom vacancy rates."

Five In-Depth Stories About Homelessness

1. Policing Synthetic Marijuana on LA's Skid Row
2. How Cardboard Signs Changed the Face of Homelessness in America
3. For Homeless Women, Having Your Period Isn't a Hassle, It's a Nightmare
4. Why Are We So Bad at Talking About Homelessness?
5. This LA Graffiti Artist Incorporates Homeless People Into His Pieces

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