Mark Linnhoefer – The elected leaders of LA have declared that they are to declare a state of emergency so that the city may take quicker and more effective action to curb the massive homelessness that has been building up over the past generations.
Mayor Eric Garcetti had already announced a “battle plan” for his “war on homelessness” late in July, but so far no plan has been published.
The declaration of a state of emergency also entails a devotion of up to $100 million to combat the rising numbers of homeless people – where exactly that money will come from and just how it will be used is unclear as of yet, but hey, at least they’re trying to help now instead of keeping dissolving the homeless’ encampments and harassing those poverty-struck citizens. The City Council will still have to vote on the proposed declaration, but once it has been implemented the elected rulers hope to be able to lift restrictions on churches and other groups wanting to take in homeless people, and further to give out building permits faster so that cheap accommodation may be erected swiftly.
Members of the city’s budget committee have been quoted as saying that much of the $100 million might come out of a rainy-day fund that LA has set aside for emergencies.
The homeless problem in LA is more vicious than in any other US city, which is why a state of emergency was deemed necessary – “we can’t do business as usual”, as Chairman of the LA housing committee puts it. A 85% increase in encampments and homeless people living in vehicles over the past two years further underlines the urgency of this issue.
Measures that will be taken under this new legislation are not fully worked out yet, but will include an improved tracking system for homeless people, new places for them to store their belongings and have access to social services, and incentives to combat poverty so as to eradicate the source of homelessness.