LA Mayor throws support behind state homelessness budget bill

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Local governments could end up spending $1.5 billion to address homelessness, by way of an Assembly bill that would require municipalities to match state funds tackling the problem.

Assembly Bill 3171, introduced by Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), would send $1.5 billion from California’s budget surplus to cities launching homelessness programs such as new shelters, rental assistance and supportive housing. However, cities accepting funds would have to match whatever they receive.

LA Mayor Eric Garcetti was one of 11 California mayors who have thrown their support behind the bill. At James M. Wood Community Center in downtown Los Angeles Monday, he told reporters that despite tax initiatives for affordable housing, more money is needed.

“California’s homelessness crisis is a humanitarian emergency that shocks our conscience and compels all of us to act with urgency,” Garcetti said. “Cities are first responders in this crisis, and we are leveraging every possible resource to get people off the street and into homes.”

According to a federal report by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, California’s homeless population grew 13 percent in 2016 and nearly 14 percent in 2017. The overall statewide count has grown to 134,278 persons as of 2017. About 25 percent of that is in Los Angeles, according to the 2017 Point-In-Time Count, which put the total number of individuals at 34,189.

Garcetti’s office said the bill could result in $382 million from the state, which would be matched for a total of $764 million in funding.

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