The Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday unanimously declared a Homeless Shelter Crisis in Los Angeles, freeing the city from several state-level regulations that delay the construction of new shelters.
The declaration of the crisis cannot exceed a full year and city documents made it clear that this is only a temporary measure while the city finds more affordable housing.
“The City should use its broad powers to take immediate action to locate a broad range of housing options for homeless individuals,” the motion by Councilmen Jose Huizar and Mike Bonin read.
Because the declaration was made the use of city-owned property and facilities for emergency shelters has been authorized and non-profit organizations and faith-based institutions can provide shelters with less red tape to wade through. Shelters can also now be established without regard to the number of beds or numbers of persons served.
The 2017 Homeless Count released by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) estimated that 34,189 individuals were homeless in Los Angeles, with approximately 25,237 of those considered to be unsheltered on any given night.
Current shelters number at approximately 7,646 beds, a figure which includes emergency shelters and transitional housing programs.
L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti teased the declaration in Monday’s State of the City address, calling it a key part of the city’s plan to fight homelessness. It’s a dramatic reversal for Garcetti and the City Council, as both have historically focused on supportive housing and other long-term solutions over temporary shelters.