Councilmember Huizar issues legislation Friday, February 9, calling for a major shift and triage-like response to immediately assist Skid Row homeless get into temporary housing.
L.A. City Councilmember José Huizar introduced legislation Friday calling for a major shift in addressing homelessness in Skid Row – the largest homeless encampment in the United States. Huizar’s motion directs City staff to report back on funding and implementation of emergency shelter for the more than 2,000 people in Skid Row who have no shelter and sleep on the streets on a nightly basis.
This week, the Homelessness & Poverty Committee, which Huizar helped establish and currently serves on, approved funding to provide trailers as temporary shelter with services in a parking lot near El Pueblo Historical Monument with the goal of assisting homeless individuals around El Pueblo move to bridge and permanent supportive housing within six months.
Huizar wants a similar but ramped up response done in Skid Row.
"I've always said that for Skid Row we need triage, emergency, immediate-shelter assistance,” said Councilmember Huizar. "What we have right now is that the service providers and shelter beds are overwhelmed and we don't have enough, so why not do this triage-type emergency approach? We’ve accepted the situation in Skid Row for too long, and we shouldn’t. We need a drastic departure. More than anywhere else in the City, the unforgiving grasp of homelessness that is occurring in Skid Row is simply untenable and an utter tragedy – it is the greatest example of the moral dilemma we face in addressing homelessness. We need a crisis response in Skid Row that is equal to the scale of that tragedy.”
Huizar’s motion calls for a full study of the number of shelter beds currently available and an estimate of the number needed; cost estimates and potential funding sources; study of city-owned properties that might be suitable for temporary emergency shelter; strategies to ensure that participants in emergency shelter are being readied for long-term housing; near term actions needed to establish the first sites with community input; recommendations for storage and other services needed to augment shelter and address street conditions.
Councilmember Huizar also introduced another motion directing City staff to report back on rewriting the city standards for emergency shelter implementation that is consistent with state standards, which are less restrictive than the City’s.
Councilmember José Huizar is one of the City of Los Angeles’ most proactive elected officials in pursuing creative solutions to address homelessness. He was the initiator for Skid Row’s successful City Community County (C3) program. Huizar first worked with LA County Supervisor Mark-Ridley Thomas to bring County mental health, medical, rehabilitative and housing experts into Skid Row for intensive outreach during the City’s Operation Healthy Streets cleanups. C3 is now the model for the entire County of Los Angeles. Huizar also teamed with Council President Herb Wesson to create the nation’s first permanent large-city committee to address homelessness; oversaw as Co-Chair of that committee the creation of the City’s Homelessness Strategic Plan; and he co-authored Proposition HHH, the $1.2 billion homeless housing bond, which received more than 76% voter approval, the largest City bond in history.
Councilmember Huizar also led the effort on the Los Angeles City Council, with the support of Mayor Garcetti, to create a Linkage Fee program, which will generate hundreds of millions of dollars to provide for new affordable housing and protect existing affordable housing throughout the City in order to keep Angelenos from falling into homelessness – which the City’s Homelessness Strategic Plan called for.
On Thursday, Huizar joined LA County Supervisor Hilda Solis to kick-off a City of L.A. homeless donation meter effort, as part of the Real Change Movement, with proceeds going to non-profit The People Concern in their work with the C3 program in Skid Row.