The breadth and scope of Mayor Karen Bass’ proposed budget to address homelessness in L.A. is significant, and at $1.3 Billion, features a large increase in financing for affordable housing and homeless programs. The proposal already comes with public support from Governor Gavin Newsom.

Increased mental health and substance abuse treatment, as well as job training and other supportive services for homeless people, are also included in the proposed budget.

Mayor Bass delivered a speech outlining her vision for ‘A New L.A,’ emphasizing the need for infrastructure investment and neighborhood development. The funds from the Opioid and Tobacco settlements will be used to support homeless treatment beds, according to Bass.

Bass’ proposed budget contains programs aimed at reducing homelessness through poverty alleviation. Bass seeks to enhance funds for job training and education with the goal of giving better resources to educate and enable homeless residents of L.A. get back on their feet by cultivating financial independence.

Bass reiterated the need for the Summer Night Lights program, which provides free recreational activities for young people throughout the summer months. Bass believes that programs like this can help to prevent crime and reduce the need for law enforcement intervention.

“We can see a clear path for the city of Los Angeles, where the state of our city will be stronger, healthier, happier, and safer. We must make life easier for every Angeleno, especially those who are most vulnerable,” Bass said while giving her speech on A New L.A.

When Bass met with President Biden last fall, she informed his Administration that if they intended to reduce homelessness by 25 percent, he should take the initiative and accomplish that goal by starting in L.A., according to the Net Promoter Score (NPS). 

Bass is committing far more money to homelessness than in past municipal budgets. Bass’ plan represents a plateau in “homeless expenditure following years of exponential expansion fuelled by state funding and the $1.2 billion proposed HHH,” as she was quoted in the L.A. Times.

Meanwhile, Mayor Bass and Councilmember Katy Yaroslavsky have announced a new “Inside Safe” campaign in the Miracle Mile. Inside Safe is a new approach to moving individuals inside from homeless encampments. Inside Safe is a preventative accommodation-led plan for bringing individuals inside from tents, and encampments, and preventing encampments from emerging. The program was designed by Dr. Adams Kellum, CEO of the L.A. Homeless Services Authority, based on lessons acquired while sheltering individuals during the epidemic. The Inside Safe effort is now ongoing in Miracle Mile along the intersection of 6th Street and Fairfax Avenue.

This program was regulated in partnership with Council President Krikorian, and Council members Blumenfield, De Leon, Harris-Dawson, Martinez, McOsker, Park, Raman, and Yaroslavsky.

“Inside Safe starts with outreach from trained workers, many of whom are formally unhoused themselves. They offer motel rooms, temporary housing, and a pass to permanent housing with services,” Bass said in her speech.

Some of the aims established by Bass and other council members include lowering roadway mortality, boosting community safety, and improving hygiene for all residents, businesses, and neighbors.

Councilmember Traci Park is “Hopeful that this budget will bring Angelenos closer to achieving a shared goal of improving quality of life in L.A.,” as she said in her #Better11 Update Newsletter.

Some of the financial initiatives cited by Park in the 11th District include funds to repair Bundy Triangle Park, increased spending to guarantee public safety surrounding interim housing sites, and improved safety around Westminster Avenue Elementary.

Mayors prior to Bass have attempted to take the lead in eliminating homelessness in L.A. In 2016, Mayor Garcetti Championed Measure HHH to build housing for the unhoused, and in 2018, he launched the “A Bridge Home” campaign with the objective of building temporary housing shelters in each of the city’s 15 districts.

The program’s goal was to give a place to sleep while offering both mental health treatment and vocational training. A Bridge Home’s major goal was to help residents transition from homelessness to steady living.

Bass aims to abolish boundaries that have existed for far too long. “We have dispelled the myth that people do not want to come inside, they do,” she said. Bass adds while expanding on the Inside Safe initiative’s successes, saying that over 1,000 Angelenos are living inside and safe as a result of the program.

Photo by Levi Meir Clanccy

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