On Jan. 16, Gov. Gavin Newsom promoted 100 travel trailers as an immediate but temporary solution to proving shelter for an estimated 150,000 homeless Californians — more than 100,000 of whom live outdoors or in their cars. Newsom considers the trailers — which could fit up to eleven people each — and dozens of tents as “a way to establish triage centers for state, local and social service groups to connect with the homeless population in different communities and offer assistance,” the Los Angeles Times reports.
In his new state budget, Newsom proposes spending $1.4 billion on homelessness which, if approved by the Legislature, would distribute $650 million to different communities as his administration looks for land for the temporary shelters.
“This is a deeply temporary solution to the crisis at hand,” Newsom told reporters. “No one is in denial about the scale and scope of the crisis…It’s about catalyzing a focus, catalyzing investment and beginning to leverage our resources and resourcefulness to meet this moment head-on.”
Newsom has been reaching out to the federal administration for help and support, despite President Trump’s constant derision on Twitter.
Meanwhile, over the Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend, leaders from around the state gathered at the 28th Annual Empowerment Congress Summit to issue a call to action on homelessness. “We must resolve, in our hearts and minds, that it is our duty to improve lives beyond our own,” event founder LA County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas told about 800 at the plenary session at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science in Willowbrook.
“We must do more to lift up people experiencing homelessness and turn their despair into hope, their dreams into reality,” new City Council President Nury Martinez told the group.
LA County is also tackling affordable housing. “The chasm between the number of affordable housing units we need and those that currently exist is daunting, but not insurmountable,” out Supervisor Sheila Kuehl wrote in her weekly newsletter, noting that the Board approved over $90 million for five affordable housing developments.
“First, we approved $48.58 million in loans, including $43.58m in state No Place Like Home funds, for four different affordable housing projects” providing 271 units, “the majority of which are specifically designated for homeless individuals with serious mental illness.”
Two of the four projects are in Kuehl’s Third District, including 80 units in Canoga Park and 62 units in East Hollywood.
“We also approved $45 million in tax-exemption housing revenue bonds to finance the construction and development of West Carson Villas,” Kuehl said, “an affordable 111-unit multifamily housing development in West Carson. PATH Ventures, the development arm of People Assisting the Homeless (PATH) that will carry out the project, is a recognized leader in creating high-quality, affordable, and stable homes for people experiencing homelessness.”
Photo: Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl (Photo courtesy Kuehl)