Read what we've been up to in January/February 2018
In the New Year, my office has stepped up our continuous effort on multiple fronts to address homelessness – by far the single most important issue we face as a City. A motion I introduced moved forward at our Homelessness & Poverty Committee to deal with the “ground zero” of homelessness – Skid Row – in order to create a triage-like response to that tragedy that has been allowed to continue for far too long.
In my Planning and Land Use Committee, we voted to approve expedited processes ordinances in order to build homeless housing quicker, which will assist us in our goal to build up to 10,000 units of supportive housing through Measure HHH, which I co-authored. Our Planning committee also approved an ordinance to make it easier to convert motels/hotels into homeless housing with services.
And while Council District 14 is home to the most homeless supportive housing units in the City, I joined my council colleagues in co-sponsoring a motion, with the support of the United Way, to commit to supporting 222 units of supportive housing in each of the 15 Council Districts every three years so that there is an even production of homeless housing throughout the entire City as HHH projects are proposed and built.
And in my effort to call greater attention to the mental health crisis that continues with more than a third of the LA City and County homeless population dealing with mental health issues, my Council colleagues called for changes in state law to help those who aren’t able to help themselves. We want the state to broaden the definition of “gravely disabled” to allow for treatment of those with severe mental health illnesses who cannot seek medical treatment voluntarily. The state has been inactive on this and needs to address it asap.
And to bring even greater awareness to the issue of homelessness in Los Angeles, we partnered with the Real Change Movement to bring the City’s first six homelessness donation meters to DTLA.
And while we need to offer more services and housing to our homeless population, we as a City have a responsibility to keep our streets and sidewalks clean, safe and passable – and we are incredibly lacking in that effort with inadequate resources. In response to a motion I introduced, the City’s Bureau of Sanitation put forth a plan to double its personnel to deal with an ever-increasing backlog in encampment cleanups.
Finally, our “4th Annual Night on Broadway” was a tremendous success! This event highlighted the 10th Anniversary of our Bringing Back Broadway initiative and brought out more than 250,000 people. Thank you to all the Angelenos who attended, as well as the volunteers, businesses and residents who made this “Only in LA” event possible.
Table of Contents
- Huizar Calls For Major Triage Response in Skid Row
- Temporary Trailers to House Homeless
- Huizar Calls for More Clean Streets Crews
- Huizar, County Call for Changes to Assist Mentally Ill
- Huizar Introduces City's First Homeless Donation Meters
- Huizar Committee Approves Two Proposals to Expedite Homeless Housing
- Huizar Supports HHH Housing in All Council Districts
- El Sereno Breaks Ground on $1.2 million in Safety Upgrades
- Main and Spring Forward Takes Key Step
- Huizar, Mayor and Supervisor Solis Open Family Justice Center for Victims of Domestic Violence
- Council Approves Legislation to Protect DACA, TPS Immigrants
- 4th Annual Night on Broadway
- Around CD14
The Los Angeles City Council’s Homelessness and Poverty Committee, which Councilmember José Huizar serves on, approved moving forward with Huizar’s motion Wednesday directing City staff to report back in 45 days on funding and implementation of emergency shelter for Skid Row’s homeless population. More than 2,000 people in Skid Row have no shelter and sleep on the streets on a nightly basis.
“If this was a natural disaster, FEMA would be on the streets of Skid Row tonight,” said Councilmember Huizar. “Skid Row is ground zero for homeless encampments in the city and indeed the entire nation – we need a response that is equal to the tragedy that Skid Row has been allowed to become for far too long. We are building long-term housing through Measure HHH, but we need a triage-like response to provide temporary, emergency shelter housing with services in Skid Row as soon as possible. It is absolutely untenable.”
Councilmember 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.
The Homelessness & Poverty Committee and City Council 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. Councilmember Huizar's motion makes CD14 the first to use City property to offer temporary shelter to assist those experiencing homelessness.
This will create a temporary facility in a parking lot at El Pueblo in Downtown LA with emergency shelter beds, storage, hygiene facilities and supportive services for up to 60 individuals. The site will have 24-hour security with controlled access and separate trailers for men and women. Ongoing services will be managed by a nonprofit service provider identified by and under contract with the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA). Thanks to Mayor Eric Garcetti for his support and leadership in working with Councilmember Huizar on this important step in tackling our homeless crisis.
In response to a Huizar motion heard by The City’s Homelessness and Poverty Committee this week, the City’s Bureau of Sanitation put forth a plan to double its personnel to deal with an ever-increasing backlog in encampment cleanups. The City has a backlog of more than 5,800 requests across all 15 districts, which are currently serviced equally and not based on need. CD14, CD13 and CD9 make up nearly 60% of the backlog, which creates public health and safety issues, as well as public right-of-way and ADA-access issues.
Councilmember Huizar first sounded the alarm that Sanitation cleanup crews were significantly underfunded during last year’s budget deliberation and during the H&P committee discussion this week, Huizar received a commitment from Sanitation that they want to see more of a needs-based approach to cleanups. Much more work is needed and this plan must be prioritized in any upcoming budget deliberations.
The City Council approved Councilmember Huizar's resolution supporting efforts to broaden the state definition of “gravely disabled” to allow for treatment of those with severe mental health illnesses who cannot seek medical treatment voluntarily - a huge issue if we’re going to truly assist our homeless population.
The state law currently allows for court-ordered treatment for someone who is gravely disabled as “a condition in which a person as a result of a mental health disorder, is unable to provide for his or her basic personal needs for food, clothing, or shelter.” This City resolution supports LA County Supervisors Kathryn Barger and Mark Ridley-Thomas County-issued resolution to add to that list “medical treatment where the lack or failure of such treatment results in substantial physical harm or death.”
With at least a third of homeless individuals on our City and County streets suffering from mental illness, Councilmember Huizar continues to call for more resources from the County and state.
“We’ve known for a long time that a third of those experiencing homelessness in the City and County of Los Angeles are grappling with mental health issues – many with severe illnesses that they cannot manage on their own,” said Councilmember Huizar. “We see it every day on the streets of Los Angeles. The state must act to change this designation to prevent deaths, as well as to give these individuals the opportunity to live a quality life – they deserve no less.”
Councilmember Huizar, Supervisor Solis, The People Concern and others gathered at Grand Park recently to unveil one of six homeless donation meters being installed in Downtown Los Angeles as part of an effort to raise awareness and allow locals and visitors to donate money and know that it will assist those experiencing homelessness in Skid Row. These meters are the first in the City and were designed by Huizar’s office along with the Flintridge Center, originators of the Real Change Movement, where they have led successful programs in Pasadena and West Palm Beach, Florida.
Funds from the $3,500 annual sponsorship, along with individual donations, will be collected by the Flintridge Center and administered to the People Concern, a non-profit that works with the City-County-Community (C3) program. C3 is an intensive homeless outreach program that brings County mental health, medical, rehabilitative, housing and peer outreach teams directly into the streets to assist those experiencing homelessness. It was first developed by Councilmember Huizar, with the assistance of LA County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. It is now a five-day-a-week outreach model used throughout the entire Los Angeles County, including Los Angeles and 87 other cities.
Councilmember Huizar's Planning and Land Use Committee approved two proposals to expedite housing our homeless neighbors.
The Permanent Supportive Housing Ordinance will streamline production of homeless housing in the City by simplifying processes and make construction more affordable.
The Motel Conversion Ordinance will streamline converting motels into supportive, transitional or bridge housing. Both action items were first recommended as part of the City’s Comprehensive Homelessness Strategic Plan, which Councilmember Huizar helped draft as co-chair of the Homelessness and Poverty Committee.
For more information, check out this LA Times story.
Councilmember Huizar, Council President Wesson, and Councilmembers Harris-Dawson, Martinez and Krekorian joined with United Way, Skid Row Housing Trust and housing advocates to pledge this week that each Council District will support at least 222 units of HHH-funded Permanent Supportive Housing every three years.
In order for Measure HHH to provide 10,000 units in 10 years, the 222 units represents the figure needed from each Council Office to ensure production of the supportive housing equally throughout the City.
While Council District 14 is home to the highest number of supportive homeless housing units in the City, Councilmember Huizar co-sponsored a motion introduced on Wednesday laying out the City Council commitment to support 222 in each of the districts every three years. It will be voted on in the coming weeks.
As a co-author of Measure HHH, Councilmember Huizar strongly supports the pledge to provide homeless housing more equally throughout the City and decentralize service and housing in areas like Skid Row. Studies have shown that individuals have a much better chance to get out of homelessness in communities they have a connection to.
Councilmember Huizar is proud to announce $1.2 million in new, much-needed safety upgrades for Alhambra Avenue in El Sereno! The community suggested improvements include a new traffic signal, lighted sidewalk, art wall, bike lanes, dedicated left-turn lanes and more. Together, these improvements will make this corridor much safer.
Thank you to all our partners for their help, especially the local residents, El Sereno Arroyo Playground Vecinos and Concerned Neighbors of El Sereno.
As part of Councilmember Huizar's DTLA Forward and the City's Vision Zero, Councilmember Huizar is partnering with LADOT on a complete streets project on two major DTLA thoroughfares that will better organize the streets while improving safety and comfort for all.
Main and Spring Forward's scope covers Main Street, from Cesar Chavez Avenue to 9th Street, and Spring Street, from 1st Street to 9th Street, in order to improve intersections and crossings for people walking, and upgrade the existing buffered bicycle lanes to protected bicycle lanes, reduce bus-bicycle conflicts, maximize parking/loading, and increase bus efficiency.
Work has already begun on Spring Street, and LADOT estimates work on Main Street will begin in the summer.
Councilmember Huizar, Mayor Garcetti, Supervisor Solis, LAPD Chief Beck, the LA County Sheriff's Department and Dr. Astrid Heger opened the Family Justice Center on the USC Health Sciences Campus. The Center will provide services for victims of domestic violence, and improve law enforcement response to these cases.
The Family Justice Center will serve the areas of DTLA, Boyle Heights, El Sereno, and Northeast LA. It will operate Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. till 5 p.m. During off-hours, LAPD Detectives will be available to provide advice and respond depending on the severity of the case.
The Los Angeles City Council approved a package of legislation, including motions and resolutions by Councilmembers Huizar, Cedillo and Wesson, to protect Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) students and immigrants affected by Temporary Protected Status. In a nation founded by immigrants, we are a City of immigrants and the City of Los Angeles must stand up for our fellow Angelenos and their families!
Councilmember Huizar's 4th Annual Night on Broadway, celebrating the 10-year anniversary of Bringing Back Broadway, was a big success and has quickly emerged as the quintessential Los Angeles street festival! Over 250,000 people attended throughout the night and 120,000 to 140,000 at any one given time! Thank you to all Angelenos who came out to celebrate Broadway, DTLA and what it means to be part of the diverse Los Angeles communities that make us all proud Angelenos. It's not just the talented performers, artistic expression, partners and beautiful theaters that made Night on Broadway a success, it's all of you who make it a truly only in LA experience.
Councilmember Huizar and his wife Richelle stopped by Grand Central Market for a quick bite during a stroll through DTLA.
CD14 was well represented at the Women's March in Downtown LA with Mujeres de Boyle Heights! Councilmember Huizar's wife, Richelle Huizar, and other women from Boyle Heights and #TeamHuizar joined over 500,000 to support women's rights, justice and equality.
Councilmember Huizar celebrated the 10-year Anniversary of Bringing Back Broadway at the same place it kicked it off in 2008 – the beautiful Los Angeles Theatre! The public/private initiative has been an incredible ride – with a lot of hard work and accomplishments along the way to revitalize one of the City of LA’s most historic streets.
Councilmember Huizar joined Monsignor Moretta, Mayor Eric Garcetti, LAFD Chief Terrazas and LAPD Chief Beck at Resurrection Church to announce the arrest of the person suspected of arson and vandalism at the church. Resurrection has been a pillar of Boyle Heights for decades and now it is our turn to show them how strongly we support them.
To donate to help Resurrection Church rebuild, please go to Resurrectionla.com. Click “donate now” then “quick give” and finally select the “Help Rebuild Our Parish” option.
Councilmember Huizar honored Robert “Bob” Gotham, former president for The Eagle Rock Association (TERA) in City Council. Bob's impact on Northeast LA & the City will be felt for years to come with his leadership on TERA, the “Take Back the Boulevard” initiative for Colorado Blvd. and “Rock the Boulevard” initiative for Eagle Rock Blvd.
Councilmember Huizar welcomed the new board of the Little Tokyo Business Association and its new president Masao “Mike” Okamoto with certificates of recognition.
Thanks to all who donated to Councilmember Huizar's Northeast Field Office blanket drive. All donations are going to Recycled Resources, an all-volunteer organization who assist those experiencing homelessness in Northeast Los Angeles.
Thank you AltaMed Health Services for organizing the 7th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service at Roosevelt High School. Volunteer groups painted the basketball court wall and cleaned around the school.
Councilmember Huizar spoke at the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce monthly Land Use, Construction and Housing meeting this week. He discussed his efforts to update the City's Community Plans, addressing affordable housing through the newly adopted Linkage Fee and pushing for more city properties being dedicated to homeless and affordable housing, as well as his efforts to address homelessness.
Councilmember Huizar honored Tammy Membreño, Executive Director of Barrio Action in El Sereno, for over 26 years of great work. Barrio Action has grown significantly under her leadership and offers a number of programs benefiting at-risk & high-risk youth and their families. Thousands of people in our community have been positively affected by the work and service Barrio Action and Tammy Membreño have provided CD14, El Sereno and the surrounding communities. Thank you Tammy!
Thank you to everyone who came out to the first “Rock the Boulevard” community meeting. Rock the Boulevard is a community-driven initiative led by TERA and the ERNC and supported by Councilmember Huizar to make Eagle Rock Boulevard safer for all people. Special thanks to TERA and the ERNC for their leadership on this effort as well as on our “Take Back the Boulevard” initiative, which is improving Colorado Boulevard.
As part of our Bringing Back Broadway initiative, artist Christian Ceci created murals on 21 utility boxes in DTLA. Each piece of art tells part of Broadway's storied history. Check them out between 1st and 12th St on Broadway!