Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti plans to spend nearly $1 billion on the growing homelessness issue in the upcoming budget year.
According to Yahoo! News, Garcetti is set to announce a proposal during his State of the City address on Monday. The move comes after a decades-long homelessness crisis, and most recently, the protests against the homeless being kicked out of Echo Park.
The proposal will reportedly include a $791 million budget that would go toward an initiative to help homeless residents, fund cleanups around shelters, and expand programs that will help L.A. residents avoid falling into poverty and homelessness. Another $160 will go toward funding homelessness programs in 2021. Yahoo! News reports that the new budget is a sevenfold increase from what the mayor proposed five years ago.
If the city council approves the budget, it would be the most money that any Los Angeles mayor has allocated for homeless initiatives in a single year, according to Matt Szabo, deputy chief of staff in Garcetti’s office. For Garcetti, “homelessness is the most critical issue that the city faces outside of COVID recovery,” Szabo said. Szabo added that Garcetti plans to use $100 million of Biden’s rescue package for homelessness initiatives.
The funds will go toward funding the construction of tiny homes, shelters and converting buildings into homeless housing.
The issue of homelessness is “awful,” and it’s not getting any better, said David Card, chairman of the Pacific Palisades Community Council. “In the neighboring community of Venice, they’ve always had homelessness, but it’s just gotten so much worse,” he said. “And in Brentwood, people are very upset about the homeless tents on San Vicente.”