In her first act as mayor of Los Angeles, Karen Bass declared a state of homelessness emergency in the city.
She went to the city’s emergency operations center on Monday to formalize the situation.
According to a statement from Bass’s office, the statement “will recognize the severity of the Los Angeles crisis and innovate to maximize the ability to urgently move people indoors.”
Homelessness in Los Angeles
At least 41,980 people were homeless in the city of Los Angeles during a three-day study this year, according to the Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA).
The same study found that at least 69,144 people were homeless in Los Angeles County.
It showed a 4.1% increase in homelessness from 2020 in Los Angeles County and a 1.7% increase from 2020 in Los Angeles.
According to LAHSA, local COVID-era policies like eviction moratoriums and rental assistance, as well as federal assistance have helped people stay housed throughout the pandemic.
However, many of these policies have since ended or are about to end, and they are left without housing and people facing housing insecurity without a safety net, LAHSA reports.
Bass’ record on homelessness
In his campaign for mayor, Bass promised to “house 15,000 people by the end of the first year, drastically reduce street homelessness, end street encampments” and “lead the mental health and addiction treatment,” the campaign website reads.
Earlier this year, as a House Representative, Bass helped secure millions to fund programs that provide long-term shelter for homeless Angelenos, support job training and career development programs for people homeless and those with precarious housing.
She has also supported funding for addiction programs, including residential and outpatient addiction counseling and treatment, as well as funding to keep families together in Asian American/Asian addiction prevention programs.
“These investments to address homelessness, improve community safety and help families cope with the rising cost of living in our congressional district come at a critical time,” Bass said in a March statement. . “Now that we have these new funds allocated at the federal level, we need to make sure they get to our communities as soon as possible.”