(Los Angeles) April 19, 2017 – In an effort to help people forced to live on the street find shelter and assistance, the Los Angeles City Council today approved a shelter crisis declaration co-authored by Councilmember José Huizar and Councilmember Mike Bonin, allowing the city to open more shelter facilities to help get an estimated 28,000 homeless residents off the street.
Today’s unanimous vote is a key step in a series of responses to the homelessness crisis, led by Huizar, Bonin, and Marqueece Harris-Dawson. Councilmember Huizar’s Planning Committee recently recommended removing self-imposed City restrictions, including ordinance language that previously only allowed a shelter crisis in the City of Los Angeles to be declared during winter months and limited them to 120 days a year, among other restrictions.
“If a natural disaster put 28,000 people on the streets of Los Angeles, we wouldn’t hesitate to call it a shelter crisis and do everything possible to give people shelter,” said Bonin. “That is the same urgency with which we should be dealing with the homelessness crisis. This shelter crisis declaration will give the city the tools we need to offer people needed alternatives to resting their head on pavement every night.”
“While the recently adopted Measure HHH and the County’s Measure H offer a true sea change of hope in addressing homelessness in the long-term, with tens of thousands of people living on the streets of our City today, we are in the midst of a homelessness crisis of epic proportions. Today’s vote gives us the ability to act on that crisis in the short-term while giving hope, help and service to people who desperately need it.”
The City of Los Angeles currently has more than 28,000 people experiencing homelessness, according to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA). Of those, LAHSA estimates over 21,000 sleep unsheltered on any given night.