L.A. Mayor accepts responsibility for homelessness, vows to expand services

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Following the Housing and Community Investment Department’s announcement of increasing homlessness last week, many have blamed Los Angeles leaders for the sharp increase. However, Mayor Eric Garcetti proved Tuesday he was all too willing to take the blame.

“As your mayor, I take full responsibility for our response to this crisis,” Garcetti said in a letter to Los Angeles residents. “And like everyone who has seen families in tents or spoken to a homeless veteran in need, I am both heartbroken and impatient.”

Recently released numbers showed that Los Angeles’ homeless population spiked by 16 percent over the past year, reaching about 36,300 people. Countywide, the number of homeless jumped by 12 percent.

Garcetti said more than 100 projects are slated to provide more than 7,400 housing units for the homeless thanks to Proposition HHH, a $1.2 billion bond measure approved by voters in 2016 to fund homelessness programs. L.A. also added 16,525 units of new housing in 2018, more than any other city in California.

In addition to touting these and other successes, Garcetti said he would establish a new task force in his office, dedicated to expediting building approvals for housing funded by Proposition HHH. However, Garcetti made it clear that although he accepted responsibility, the fight was far from over.

“As Angelenos, our ability to turn adversity into progress is what makes this the City of Angels,” Garcetti said. “We don’t run from a challenge — we rise to it. And I know we will do so once again.”

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