LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Mayor Eric Garcetti is taking “full responsibility” for the response to the homelessness crisis in Los Angeles.
In an open letter to the residents released Tuesday, Garcetti defended the city’s efforts to address the issue, but said there is more to be done.
“The work we’ve done together kept the growth of L.A.’s homeless population to about half the average jump seen in cities across California,” Garcetti said. “But we must do better, and we must treat this problem like the humanitarian emergency that it is. That starts with me.”
According to Garcetti, the city increased its homelessness budget to more than $460 million for housing and services, housed more than 21,000 homeless Angelenos across the county and built 16,525 new units of housing in 2018.
Calling the issue a “product of decades of failure,” Garcetti pledged that the city will add more public facilities and sanitation teams. He also pledged to cut the red tape he says delays construction of new housing and said he will “rally the private sector to do more”.
“If you’re a business owner with a parking lot that goes unused at night, I’ll ask you to open it up to people who live in their vehicles and need a safe place to park,” he said. “If you’re an executive for one of L.A.’s many successful startup companies, I’ll ask you to hire homeless Angelenos and contribute to our cause.”
The letter comes in response to a report by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority that the city saw a 16 percent increase in homelessness earlier this month.