LA City Council approves Mayor Karen Bass' declaration of emergency on homelessness

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Wednesday, December 14, 2022
LA Council approves Bass' declaration of emergency on homelessness
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L.A. is now under a state of emergency on homelessness. The City Council approved an order which allows Mayor Karen Bass to take an aggressive approach to housing the homeless.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Los Angeles is now under a state of emergency on homelessness. The City Council approved an order which allows Mayor Karen Bass to take an aggressive approach to housing the estimated 40,000 homeless on the city's streets.

"It will allow her to cut through a lot of the red tape at City Hall, especially involving development and housing and the location of housing," said Raphael Sonenshein, executive director of the Pat Brown Institute at Cal State L.A. "It will allow her to coordinate all the departments, and she'll really be the true chief executive that in a crisis you need to have in a city like Los Angeles."

In a statement, Bass said in part: "This is a monumental day for the city of Los Angeles, and I commend and thank the City Council for their swift action and unanimous ratification of my emergency declaration. I look forward to continuing to lock arms with the City Council to advance a unified, citywide approach to our homelessness crisis. Together - we are moving Los Angeles in a new direction."

Back in 2015, then-Mayor Eric Garcetti declared a shelter emergency on homelessness, but it was not successful as the problem ballooned.

Mike Bonin was on the City Council back in 2015.

"Every winter declare a state of shelter emergency and that allowed us to open the wet winter weather shelters we used to see around Los Angeles," Bonin said. "There used to be one around various armories throughout Los Angeles. That happened as a result of that type of order, so what Mayor Garcetti's 2015 order did was to allow other shelters to open quickly like that year round."

Bass' state of emergency gives her additional powers. Although the City Council passed Bass' declaration Tuesday, it took hours to reach a vote because embattled City Councilman Kevin de León showed up at the meeting, enraging protesters and forcing a recess.

"It's pretty demonstrative of what he's done the entire time he's been in office. So, he's just sitting back and collecting money while everybody does not want him here for doing extremely racist and inappropriate things," said Brett, a protester who didn't want to share her last name.

De León had supporters at the meeting as well, who yelled back and forth with those wanting him to resign. De León continues to refuse to resign and took votes Tuesday while at the meeting.

"We're not going to use fear or threats to push agendas in council," said Carlos Heredia, a de León constituent and supporter.

Tuesday was the final city council meeting of the year, and unless de León changes his mind his presence at council will continue to cause disruptions into next year.