LA Mayor Karen Bass declares state of emergency on homelessness during first day in office

On Monday, Los Angeles' newest mayor took action to fulfill one of her campaign promises on her first day in office. 

Former U.S. Representative Karen Bass was sworn in as the 43rd mayor of Los Angeles Sunday. In doing so, she became the first woman and second Black person to lead the city. In her inauguration speech, Bass reiterated her plan to tackle the homeless crisis, one of pillars of her campaign. 

"Tomorrow morning, I will start my first day as mayor at the city's emergency operation centers where my first act as mayor will be to declare a state of emergency on homelessness," Bass said. While she didn't go into any specifics, Bass said that the declaration, "will recognize the severity of our crisis and break new ground to maximize our ability to urgently move people inside and to do so for good. It will create the structure necessary for us to have a true unified and citywide strategy to set us on the path to solve homelessness."


During her campaign, Bass repeatedly stressed that homelessness and public safety were the two key issues at the top of her agenda as mayor. One of her campaign promises was to house 15,000 people by the end of her first year, as well as build more temporary, affordable, and permanent housing. Her goals also included ending street encampments, reducing homelessness and focusing on mental health and substance abuse services.

"Today too many Angelenos have no choice but to crowd multiple families into one home and to work multiple jobs just to barely pay rent," Bass said. "… When a parent is hospitalized, when a job is lost, when the rent can no longer be paid, this is how and why so many Angelenos wind up losing their housing. When life is hard for some Angelenos it affects all Angelenos."