Frank discussions on combating homelessness
The UCLA Meyer and Renee Luskin Conference Center recently hosted the Los Angeles Business Council’s 21st Annual Mayoral Housing, Transportation, and Jobs Summit featuring Mayor Karen Bass, Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell and Rep. Maxine Waters (CA-43).
Bass led a discussion of “Leading with Urgency on Homelessness and Housing” in which she highlighted her recent efforts to lobby Gov. Gavin Newsom for increased funding to combat homelessness in noting $250 million already secured for the Inside Safe initiative.
One key statistic to note is that just over half of Los Angeles renters spend more than 30% of their income on housing; some 32% of residents spent more than 50% on housing just prior to the pandemic.
The housing supply shortage has driven up the price for renters and home buyers. Additionally, people suffering from mental health conditions and or drug concerns are in need of services that extend beyond what is currently offered. Much of the day-long conference focused on methods to reduce inflation as well as developing a more fruitful economy that would provide more affordable housing, fighting to maintain housing prices, and rehabilitating the life of the homeless population.
“It has to be a comprehensive approach. We have to prevent people from losing their housing and frankly, I am worried that we’re going to have another spike in homelessness because of the covid protections going away,” Bass said.
Waters gave the keynote address regarding the progress that has been made on homelessness. She said President Joe Biden has launched the ALL INside plan, a first-time initiative addressing unsheltered homeless and partnering with various cities, including Los Angeles. Waters expressed her hopes that the strides made previously and the ALL INside Initiative will be a major benefit to those in need of emergency housing resources.
Mitchell spoke to the various “assumptions” people often make regarding those living in poverty as well as the “structural barriers” and systemic changes needed to end poverty in Los Angeles.
“I want us to not respond [the way] government always has with too little too late, but to be proactive and to invest in communities that have been disproportionately harmed at a disproportionate rate. That’s the only way we’re going to truly begin to address multi-general poverty,” Mitchell said.