LA’s $1 billion proposed plan to fight homelessness

Homeless encampments line a street by the freeway in downtown Los Angeles. Mayor Eric Garcetti’s spending plan for the next fiscal year includes nearly $1 billion to fight homelessness. Photo by Getty Images.

Mayor Eric Garcetti’s so-called “justice budget” for the next fiscal year includes nearly $1 billion to fight homelessness. That money would go to renting, buying and building more housing. It would fund programs to keep housed residents from slipping into homelessness.

The mayor also proposed giving some low-income families $1000 to $2000 per month for a year — no strings attached.

The City Council still needs to approve the proposal.

KCRW reporter Anna Scott says the new proposals are indicative of the exponential pressure facing city officials to address the housing crisis in LA.

“It's fair to say that the emergency, short-term measures that they are taking now … is something new. For a long time in homelessness policy, there was sort of this dichotomy between permanent supportive housing and emergency solutions. And I think the policymakers for a long time were exclusively very focused on permanent housing,” Scott says.

Shayla Myers is a senior attorney with the Housing and Communities workgroup at the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles. She says, “If we look back in five years and 10 years and 20 years at a moment when we had $1 billion invested in homelessness, and we spent that money … on … homeless encampments rather than addressing the emergency needs, we will be no better off. And we will say that 2021 was the year we wasted $1 billion.”