LA homeless crisis: Mayor Bass signs updated declaration of emergency on homelessness

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass Monday signed an updated declaration of a state of emergency on homelessness to further expedite affordable housing and bring unhoused Angelenos inside.

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The mayor's updated declaration comes just six months after she took office, where on day one, she declared a state of local emergency on homelessness.

"Over the first six months of my administration, we've seen thousands of Angelenos come inside and thousands of units expedited," Bass said during a Monday morning press briefing at City Hall. "That's the urgency that must continue with added collaboration and coordination with the City Council in this emergency."

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"We are in an emergency every single night," she said, noting that thousands of Angelenos sleep on city streets or in their cars, and up to five Angelenos are "dying on our streets each night."

The homelessness crisis is a matter of "life and death," Bass said.

"While we've made progress, there is absolutely much more work that needs to be done," she said. "That's why we will sign an emergency declaration, an updated emergency declaration, that continues our momentum confronting the homelessness crisis and build more housing in Los Angeles."

The updated declaration will allow the mayor additional "emergency powers" and enhance collaboration with the City Council on the following:

-coordinating and issuing rules;

-expediting contracting;

-ordering contracts; and

-emergency service of city employees.

Under the updated declaration, it also expands the criteria needed for the mayor to declare an emergency on homelessness. The City Council will consider renewal of the order every 90 days, and it will end if members do not renew it.

When Bass took office in December, as part of her initial declaration of emergency on homelessness, she launched Inside Safe, a program that led to tents coming down around the city and brought more than 1,300 Angelenos inside motels and other temporary housing.

Bass took a moment to thank the Council, L.A. County Supervisors and her partners for "locking arms" on the issue and confronting the homelessness crisis with urgency.

In addition, the mayor's mandate expedited the building of affordable housing projects and focused efforts to maximize the use of publicly owned land for housing projects.

"We cut red tape and we fast tracked approval," Bass said when talking about how housing developments continue to move forward.

Bass, who was joined by Council President Paul Krekorian and Council President Pro Tempore Marqueece Harris-Dawson, said Monday's action will continue "access to tools and powers to make sure that we are using every resources possible at the scale that is needed to save lives and restore our neighborhoods."

Krekorian expressed his gratitude toward the mayor for addressing the homelessness crisis -- which he called the "challenge of our lifetime." The councilman said the mayor and City Council will continue to seek and provide regular updates to "ensure that we're learning as we go, that we're modifying programs to make them more effective, and to maintain cost efficiencies."

Harris-Dawson added that as the city continues to address the homelessness crisis, they will refine their programs with the goal of developing policy to ensure "everybody is inside."