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City Councilman Says L.A. Needs To Hire A Homeless Czar

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(Photo credit: David McNew/Getty Images)

(Photo credit: David McNew/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com)  —  Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar said Friday that the city needs to employ a czar to coordinate services for the city’s homeless.

Huizar introduced a motion calling on city staff to report back to the City Council with ways to install a “full-time coordinator, director or czar” who will coordinate with the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, Los Angeles County and other agencies and groups that provide services for the homeless.

The czar would also be able to better connect the homeless or formerly homeless to resources offered by the city, including city-run housing units and vouchers, the motion said.

Huizar’s council district includes Skid Row, which the motion describes as a “1-square-mile section of downtown” that shelters a large concentration of the city’s homeless population.

Hollywood and Venice also have significant homeless populations, also contributing to Los Angeles’ reputation as the “homeless capital” of the country, according to the motion.

The motion was seconded by Councilman Mike Bonin, who represents Venice, and has been referred to the City Council’s Housing Committee.

Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office did not immediately respond to request for comment.

The city is about to embark on a $3.7 million cleanup effort called Operation Healthy Streets.

The cleanup program, starting Wednesday, will require Skid Row’s homeless to remove their personal belongings and store them elsewhere.

Other council members have also recently addressed needs of the homeless. Councilman Gil Cedillo last month formed the Westlake Coalition, a task force of nonprofits groups, county agencies and city departments, to begin monthly outreach sessions to the homeless at MacArthur Park.

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