Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass said Wednesday she expects the city to have housed more than 4,000 homeless Angelenos by her 100th day in office.
Bass, appearing with her team during a town hall discussion on homelessness, said she expects about 1,000 of those people to come from her Inside Safe program, which has withdrawn homeless people from the streets and registered them in city-leased hotels and motels. Of the remaining 3,000, the vast majority benefit from housing programs put in place before Bass took office, his team said.
The mayor reaches her 100th day on Tuesday.
Inside Safe has traveled to 13 locations so far, most recently heading to Echo Park and Skid Row. So far, these operations have brought more than 500 people back inside, including 62 who have moved into permanent housing with support services, the mayor’s team said.
By next week, Bass intends to hit 1,000 in part by doing more camp ops. Additionally, homeless people are being moved out of homeless shelters in the winter and into temporary accommodations, including the LA Grand Hotel, which has served as a homeless facility since the COVID-19 outbreak. The mayor struck a deal weeks ago to keep the hotel open past its scheduled closing date of Jan. 31.
Bass said the Inside Safe initiative has refuted the idea that homeless people “don’t want to get off the streets”.
“We met people who said they didn’t want to go,” she said. “But on moving day – or move-in day – when the bus comes, even people who said they weren’t going, when they see other people leaving, they jump on the bus.”
Homelessness has been Bass’ main issue since taking office in mid-December. She declared a citywide homelessness emergency, commissioned reports on city properties that could be used for new housing, and worked to strengthen ties with her county, state, and county counterparts. and the federal government.
During last year’s mayoral campaign, Bass said she would move 17,000 homeless people indoors in her first year, relying on strategies that were expected to cost $292 million. .
Sitting alongside homeless czar Mercedes Marquez, Bass said her team had also encountered a number of problems over the past three months. In Westlake, his office had to move a group of homeless residents out of a motel after learning it had a serious cockroach problem. In the Westside, his team found that motel rates were often too expensive – and had to send camp residents to motels in other neighborhoods.
City leaders are still strategizing to move homeless people out of the hundreds of recreational vehicles that line city streets. One problem, the mayor said, is that many homeless people rent these recreational vehicles from private owners. “We haven’t broken that nut, but we’re working on it,” the mayor said.
Speaking to reporters, the mayor’s team said more than 2,700 of the 4,000 homeless people housed had been helped as a result of decisions made before Bass took office. For example, she said, the city completed 614 permanent supportive housing units, drawing on funds from the HHH proposal, the $1.2 billion bond measure passed by voters in 2016. — long before Bass arrived at City Hall.
The mayor said 1,336 homeless people have moved into temporary accommodation, such as “tiny house” villages. Of this total, his team takes 36. 775 additional people have been helped by emergency housing vouchers. Bass said his team takes responsibility for 143.
Council Chairman Paul Krekorian commended Bass for making homelessness such a priority. “The efforts we are making are not the end, they are a beginning,” he said. “And I look forward to further progress in the coming year.”
Earlier this year, Krekorian and his colleagues released $50 million for Bass’ homelessness initiatives. Of that total, more than $4 million has been spent and another $27 million has been allocated, largely for motels, Bass said.
Some who work closely with homeless Angelenos have expressed reservations about the mayor’s work. Peggy Lee Kennedy, who volunteers with the Venice justice committee, said she was disturbed to see homeless people being moved away from the neighborhoods where they lived.
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In January, an initial Inside Safe operation in Venice sent dozens of people to a motel near Hawthorne.
This motel is “not even in the city of LA, it’s an unincorporated LA county,” Kennedy said. For those with medical appointments in the Westside, “it’s like an hour and 40 minutes on the bus or something.”
Bitta Sharma, organizer of community outreach group Mar Vista Voice, also said she had concerns. In Del Rey, she said, camp residents were moved from motel to motel, living in three locations in just six weeks, she said.
“From the start, it seemed extremely disorganized,” Sharma said, “and traumatic for people being transported to hotels.”
Marquez, the homeless czar, said the mayor’s team is still learning as they create a citywide strategy for interim housing, which is meant to act as a bridge between encampments and permanent houses.
“Every day we grow stronger and we learn from any mistake, mistake or painful experience that happens,” she said.