Homeless, tearful L.A. community college students and the spreading tents of Garcetti-ville are a wakeup call to Mayor Eric Garcetti, City Council Housing chairman Gil Cedillo and the City Planning Commission that L.A. must end their extremely leisurely pace in spending billions in homeless funds approved last November.
Garcetti has twice vowed to “end homelessness” — in 2013 and 2017. Yet homelessness grows worse and worse as City Hall moves glacially. The HHH tax money voters approved eight months ago is not expected to result in any new homeless housing “for years,” according to the L.A. Times.
This is completely unacceptable. Now is the time for unique solutions, but Mayor Garcetti and the City Council are overseeing this disaster as if L.A. were in normal times — not the state of emergency they had declared nearly TWO years ago.
The people of L.A. want you to get with it, Mayor Garcetti, L.A. City Council President Herb Wesson and the rest of the City Council. You failed to take immediate action in November when voters said YES to billions in homeless spending, and you have failed to move into the emergency mode you had declared.
Here’s a report card on how slowly Mayor Garcetti and the City Council are moving, compared to far faster-moving Los Angeles County officials:
Bad: L.A. city voters approved Measure HHH in early November. Mayor Garcetti set up no public meetings on how to spend this money until this year.
Good: L.A. County launched almost immediate public meetings after the countywide Measure H bond measure for the homeless passed in March.
Bad: HHH tax money has only been approved for expenditure by the City Council in recent days, eight full months after voter passage, as college students and Latino families get shoved onto the streets.
Good: County Measure H bond money will begin being spent July 1, five months after voter approval.
Bad: L.A. officials are pooh-poohing unique ideas for fast housing, pointedly ignoring the 150+ “underutilized commercial properties” owned by City Hall where homeless college students and vets could be housed long before a single new unit is constructed.
Bad: L.A. officials, have since November ignored emergency innovations including tiny homes, shipping containers and homeless pods.
Good: Los Angeles County officials, by contrast, is allocating funds on July 1 including $57 million into “rapid rehousing” to quickly expand shelters.
Bad: The Garcetti administration on June 29 tried to justify to the Homeless Strategy Committee that its clearing out of 16,500 homeless camps is working. The L.A. Times today reported the $14 million spent on clearances had only marginal effect.
City Hall, get with it. You are doing too little far too late. Think out of the box, stop stalling, stop worrying about the “bad optics” of homeless in tiny homes or shipping containers or old city-owed buildings, and start spending.