In a city as prosperous as Los Angeles, and a state as wealthy as California, homelessness is a moral crisis that will define this region’s civic legacy for future generations. According to the annual homeless point-in-time count, every night in Los Angeles, more than 41,000 individuals are without a home.
Confronting this growing crisis is not only one of our highest priorities, it is our most enduring civic commitment. Together with nonprofit service providers and other partners, using evidence-based practices, street-based outreach and engagement teams, new safe interim and affordable housing and a full spectrum of supportive services we have housed more than 22,000 people in the region since 2019.
But despite these great strides, the homeless population continues to rise. The forces of poverty and the realities of the housing and employment markets are such that for every 207 individuals that exited homelessness every day in 2019, another 227 became homeless – every day. COVID-19 will surely make this problem worse.
As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. has said, “God never intended for one group of people to live in superfluous inordinate wealth, while others live in abject deadening poverty”. We will not live with the fact that some of our fellow Angelenos will be consigned to a life in the streets. My commitment is to building common cause and collective action to put in place a legislative, administrative, and budgetary framework that provides for a Right to Housing. So that we are bringing everyone experiencing homelessness indoors with resolve and urgency.
The Right to Housing: The critical path to address homelessness
By Mark Ridley-Thomas
Federal District Judge David O. Carter has gotten the city and county’s attention in a very real way. It’s a jolt that wasn’t anticipated but must be embraced.
Over the past five years, Los Angeles has dramatically scaled up its response to homelessness. But you would never know it. In a city where systemic inequalities reign, where millions of people live paycheck to paycheck, despite helping 207 people exit homelessness each day, we have not been able to stop 227 more from falling in.
Regardless of where you live, the streets tell a tragic story. Everyone is frustrated, even dismayed. It feels like too little, too late.
That is why, when Judge Carter took on the LA Alliance for Human Rights case last spring, a sense of possibility emerged. A federal judge might force all of us to fulfill our responsibility and up our game…. READ MORE