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Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass Declares Homelessness State Of Emergency

The declaration will unlock more city resources and get people living on the streets into temporary housing.
Posted at 8:13 PM, Dec 12, 2022

On her first day as the mayor of Los Angeles, former congresswoman Karen Bass took a new approach to homelessness in a city with one of the nation's highest rates. She declared an emergency to tackle the issue.

"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," Bass said.

Bass, the first woman in the top citywide job, said the move will unlock more city resources to move unhoused Angelenos off the streets and into temporary shelters, while the city focuses on building more permanent housing for the tens of thousands without a roof over their heads in Los Angeles.

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"This should not be viewed as a short-term problem," said Steve Berg, chief policy officer at the National Alliance to End Homelessness. "The community leaders, the mayors, the council members — they're all very interested in getting more jobs in the community, which brings people into the community. But in many, many places, people spend a lot of time thinking about local economic development and bringing more jobs in, but they're just not spending the time thinking about where are people going to live?"

Building more homes — affordable ones — will be the key to Los Angeles' ability to fix the homelessness crisis that has plagued the city for years but worsened in the last couple. It's harbored skepticism citywide that it will ever improve, which could be a challenge for the city's barrier-breaking new mayor as she tries to forge a new path.