Los Angeles Mayor Urges ‘More Fortunate’ Residents to Help Fund Housing for Homeless

“We have brought the public sector together and now we must prevail on the humanity and generosity of the private sector,” Karen Bass said.
Los Angeles Mayor Urges ‘More Fortunate’ Residents to Help Fund Housing for Homeless
Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass speaks during a press conference to announce new efforts to curb recent retail thefts at City Hall in Los Angeles, Calif., on Aug. 17, 2023. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images)
Katabella Roberts
4/17/2024
Updated:
4/17/2024
0:00

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass has suggested that “more fortunate” residents help fund housing for the homeless as part of a new campaign to tackle the city’s ongoing homelessness crisis.

Ms. Bass, a Democrat, announced the “LA4LA campaign,” which she said would speed up the creation of affordable housing for homeless individuals, during her State of the City address on April 15.

The mayor called on “fortunate Angelenos”—including business leaders, philanthropic organizations, and others—to help the city “acquire more properties, lower the cost of capital, and speed up housing” for the homeless population under the new program.

However, Ms. Bass didn’t provide further details regarding the specifics of the campaign, such as how much money business leaders and organizations should donate or how exactly the campaign will work.

“We have brought the public sector together and now we must prevail on the humanity and generosity of the private sector,” the mayor said. “LA4LA can be a Sea Change for Los Angeles–an unprecedented partnership to confront this emergency … an example of disrupting the status quo to build a new system to save lives.

“We will not hide people. Instead, we will house people,” she continued. “This means committing to the goal of preventing and ending homelessness—not hiding—not managing—but ending homelessness—with a new strategy and a new system that urgently lifts people from the street, and that surrounds them with the support and housing they need to never go back.”

Bass Touts ‘Inside Safe’ Program

During her address, the mayor touted her efforts to move homeless Angelenos out of short-term housing, including hotels and motel rooms, and into apartments under her “Inside Safe” program.
That program, which initially launched in December 2022 when Ms. Bass declared a state of emergency on homelessness, has seen roughly 2,500 homeless individuals taken off the street and placed into interim housing, according to the mayor’s office.

A total of 440 people have also been placed into permanent housing under the program, as per her office.

However, roughly 613 of those who took part in the program have returned to homelessness, according to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority. Another 42 have been incarcerated, and 38 have died, as per the agency.

Ms. Bass said Inside Safe is “our proactive rejection of a status quo that left unhoused Angelenos to wait–and die–outside, in encampments until permanent housing was built.”

Budget Deficit Woes

Still, the mayor acknowledged that more than 46,000 people in Los Angeles currently have no home and stressed that motel rooms rented out on a nightly basis are increasingly adding up at a time when the city is already struggling under a burgeoning budget deficit.
Los Angeles is currently facing a projected $467 million shortfall, driven by increased spending and lower-than-expected revenues.

Ms. Bass noted that the homelessness crisis—along with the continued opioid crisis that is fueling fentanyl overdose deaths—has affected residents of Los Angeles both mentally and financially, forcing them to “pay the cost of the thousands and thousands of fire, paramedic and police calls.”

The ongoing issues plaguing the city are also driving away business and tourism, she noted, highlighting the fact that many companies are fleeing the city out of safety concerns.

“I just will not accept this–and our city cannot afford to accept this. That is why we are disrupting, challenging, and rebuilding the system. Inside Safe and our overall approach is evolving and will continue to evolve,” the mayor said.

Katabella Roberts is a news writer for The Epoch Times, focusing primarily on the United States, world, and business news.