Media-Press Montage: LA Mayor’s Homelessness Predicament

(collected from various traditional media-press outlets)

Please consider this matter.  It is our spiritual duty to help the Hon. Mayor, Eric Garcetti to fulfill his promises, thereby helping ourselves, and of course the myriad and various homeless and otherwise persons unjustly languishing at bottom levels of society, even as HaShem has in HIS Written Word decreed upon and of us whom are in the Light of Heaven.

The below statements are a collection of sentiments and reports garnered from various news media-press outlets, most which are very dauntingly not in the well intention mayor’s favor or interest.

Los Angeles Mayor’s Political Future Tied to Plan to Solve City’s Homeless Crisis

‘If there’s any hope of running for president, that’s the problem he has to fix

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti aims to get half of the more than 25,000 unsheltered homeless population into shelters or housing by 2022

But last month, the mayor tied his political future to a goal that has long vexed policy makers here: housing the city’s homeless, which he publicly declared his “No. 1 issue.” Homelessness has exploded during his tenure, leaving Los Angeles with a fast growing population of people living in cars, parks and on the streets.

Mr. Garcetti aims to get half of the more than 25,000 unsheltered homeless population into shelters or housing by 2022, his last year as mayor. The 47-year-old Democrat has made no secret of his interest in running for the presidency in 2020, and whether his new plan succeeds will bear heavily on his political future, critics and supporters say.

“If there’s any hope of running for president, that’s the problem he has to fix,” said Sherry Bebitch Jeffe, a public-policy professor at the University of Southern California. “It taints his legacy as mayor, and it’s also a risk if he wants to move up.”

At home, he has come under growing pressure for not moving faster and more aggressively to address a spiraling humanitarian emergency. The homeless population has grown nearly 49% since 2013, when Mr. Garcetti was first elected. Last year, there were about 900 more people in shelters than in 2013, according to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority.

Homeless encampments have spread in L.A. in recent years, and city officials have sought to fund more affordable housing to combat the problem. But until now, there has been no comprehensive plan to build more shelters to get people off the streets immediately.

“This is our Katrina,” said Jill Stewart, executive director of the Coalition to Preserve LA, a social justice group that has opposed the mayor’s handling of the homeless issue. “Where are the shelters?”

In an interview, Mr. Garcetti said the city has doubled its rate of housing the homeless, but people are falling into homelessness at a clip faster than the city can handle. He pointed to a convergence of factors—surging rents and rising inequality, the opioid crisis and lighter criminal penalties—that have pushed greater numbers of vulnerable people onto the streets.

“It is a bigger problem than it’s ever been,” Mr. Garcetti said. “We’ve had the right strategies, but we’ve never had the master plan, and we’ve never had the resources,” he said, adding: “We finally are convening those together.”

“We had to work to listen to people on the street and change our approach,” Mr. Garcetti said.

So far, his new plan has won praise even from critics. “Finally, some kind of dam broke at City Hall,” said Ms. Stewart.

“The conventional wisdom is that this is his Achilles’ heel,’” said Rick Cole, the city manager of Santa Monica, Calif., an ally of Mr. Garcetti’s who spent two years as his deputy mayor for budget and innovation.

The mayor has long wanted to tackle the crisis head-on, Mr. Cole said, despite warnings from advisers that it is a complex problem and could jeopardize his original “back to basics” goal.

“We are here to end homelessness,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti declared Monday, April 16, 2018 during his State of the City address.

Calling homelessness the “greatest moral and humanitarian crisis of our time, Garcetti announced that his budget will include $430 million to “take this crisis head on.

“Accepting things the way they are is unacceptable,” Garcetti said.

“Homeless Angelenos can’t wait years to get off our streets. We need more options for bringing them inside now. This week, thanks to the City Council, we will put in place an emergency shelter crisis declaration so we can build shelters across L.A. as quickly as possible, bypassing red tape and regulations that would slow down the urgency of that construction,” Garcetti said, referencing an initiative to immediately start building emergency shelters in every district of Los Angeles. The mayor said he wants all districts — not just downtown Los Angeles — to take responsibility for the homeless issue.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti knows the perils of offering bold pronouncements about taming homelessness in L.A.

During his first mayoral campaign in 2013, he vowed to end chronic homelessness. Once in office, Garcetti said he would find housing for the city’s homeless veterans, first by 2015 and then 2016, before scrapping a timeline altogether.

Garcetti now seeks to cut the city’s “unsheltered” population in half in the next five years and reduce it to “functional zero” by 2028 — the final year of funding from the Measure H and Proposition HHH ballot measures, spokeswoman Anna Bahr said this week.

“The mayor set goals that establish a realistic timeline to end homelessness,” Bahr said in

Garcetti is talking about the goals as he considers a run for president in 2020. If he runs, the grim conditions on L.A. streets could be a political liability.

The unsheltered population in Los Angeles — those living on the street — is 25,237, according to the latest count. Garcetti aims to get 12,500 of that group into shelter or housing by 2022 — the year Garcetti’s tenure as mayor would end because of term limits.

“We can cut this problem in half in five years. And in 10 years … we can end life on the street,” Garcetti said in January at the beginning of the annual homeless count.

Bahr said Garcetti has made public statements regularly about his goals for cutting the unsheltered population, noting that he has been quoted in The Times about the timetable.

“Goals are laudable,” Englander said.

Establishing a timeline for solving homelessness is not new for Los Angeles politicians.

More than a decade ago, when he was a councilman, Garcetti served with then-Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and then-county Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky on a panel for Bring Los Angeles Home, a plan to end homelessness in 10 years.

In 2014, Garcetti offered a full-throated pledge to end veterans homelessness. He appeared alongside then-First Lady Michelle Obama, accepting the Obama administration’s challenge to tackle the problem — an event that generated headlines.

The pitfalls of optimistic pronouncements about homelessness are illustrated in the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority’s 2016 analysis of how much new housing would be needed to attain functional zero.

Under the best scenario, the analysis found, thousands would be homeless at any point because of the growing influx of newly destitute people. Also, it takes a long time — an average of three months — for a homeless person to obtain housing in the area’s tight market, the report said.

“Fully meeting the housing gaps detailed in this report would only be able to lower the [homeless count] below 15,000,” the report concluded.

Even that unvarnished projection, based on the 2016 assumption that the homeless population could be reduced by 14% annually, turned out to be unrealistic. From 2015 to 2017, homelessness rose more than 30% in the city.

Chastened by the discrepancy, the agency included no projections when it updated the analysis this year.

Whether the mayor is able to achieve his goals hinges on the success of the county’s rollout of funds raised through Measure H. The city is unable to tackle homelessness on its own, city leaders have acknowledged.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who has worked closely with the mayor on homelessness, didn’t respond to a request Tuesday for comment on Garcetti’s timeline.

In addition, his “short-term strategy centers on erecting as many emergency shelters as possible near homeless encampments across Los Angeles,” including one in a parking lot near El Pueblo de Los Angeles, Bahr said.

Philip Mangano, former homelessness czar for President George W. Bush and president of the American Round Table to Abolish Homelessness, last year called Garcetti’s two yardsticks for ending veterans homelessness a “well-intentioned misjudgment.”

However, on Tuesday, he called the mayor’s latest goals “ambitious.” He said their success would be contingent on building enough housing so people aren’t just shuttled between shelters.

“He is putting himself on the front line of another numerical commitment, which has proven to be very difficult to keep in general in Los Angeles,” he said.

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