LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti walked the streets of Skid Row Thursday morning as he announced a new initiative that he hopes will improve the city’s homeless crisis.

Mayor Eric Garcetti walks by tents on the sidewalks of Skid Row. He insisted his trip through the beleaguered community was not a photo opportunity. (CBSLA)

Garcetti is asking for money from the state and Washington to help fund a new $2 million program that will employ homeless people to help clean up Skid Row — the neighborhood that has become synonymous with the city’s humanitarian crisis.

“Remember what they said when they first landed on the moon, ‘One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind’,” Garcetti said. “This is going to be one small action for Skid Row, and one giant leap for the city.”

A worker at The Bin — a warehouse in Skid Row — walks by rows of plastic containers that hold items belonging to the homeless. (CBSLA)

Garcetti’s tour began with a look at the new location for what’s called The Bin — a warehouse in Skid Row where the homeless can store their belongings in assigned, secured plastic bins. The effort, paid for by the city and run by the nonprofit Chrylsalis, is especially helpful for those facing homelessness who find jobs — they can store their items instead of leaving them on the streets. Garcetti said efforts like this are small steps toward a larger goal.

“If you clean up a neighborhood, you can start to clean up their lives and get them on the path,” Garcetti said.

When asked about the frustration expressed by some people in neighborhoods who want the homeless off of the streets, Garcetti said

“If there was a magic way to do that, I think we all would if it was a humane thing,” he said. “The courts have said you can’t move people unless there’s a bed for every single one, and 50,000 beds don’t come out of nowhere overnight.”

Garcetti said his trip to Skid Row was not a photo opportunity. He said he was focused on outreach to the homeless communities and solving the crisis.

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