Rick Caruso says building malls a skill that's 'transferable' to creating housing for homeless

"My business has been building shopping centers ... That skill is so transferable," said Caruso on building homeless housing.

Josh Haskell Image
Wednesday, November 2, 2022
Caruso says skill to build malls 'transferable' to sheltering homeless
"My business has been building shopping centers ... That skill is so transferable," said Caruso on building housing for the homeless should he be elected mayor of Los Angeles.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- There's one week to go in the Los Angeles mayor's race and solving homelessness will be the biggest issue that faces either Karen Bass or Rick Caruso.

"The city doesn't know how to manage a building project," said Caruso. "You never want to put the government, and this is the problem Karen has. She's got no experience to know if the costs are high or low or if it makes sense if you're being taken advantage of, and this is something I'm going to bring. I think we can cut the cost in half ... you could also do modular."

Caruso spent time in North Hollywood Tuesday touring a future permanent homeless housing site, which includes 103 units, run by the nonprofit Penny Lane Centers.

Caruso also met with a formerly unhoused man who credits Penny Lane with getting him sober and off the streets.

Meanwhile, Bass continues to point out that the developer has never built affordable housing.

"I do believe that he has spent more in this race than any of the races going on around the country right now," she said. "That's including people running for governor. People running for senator and just stop and think for one minute how many people could be housed with $100 million."

According to the latest data reported to the L.A. Ethics Commission, Bass has received $9.4 million in contributions.

Caruso is approaching $100 million, of which $98 million is his own money.

The Bass campaign says $100 million would have housed 4,545 homeless Angelenos.

Caruso has maintained getting elected to a position that allows him to address all the problems facing L.A. would be money well spent.

"What they're building out here is incredible and it's all the wrap-around services and it's working and this is what, again, reinforces my position that we can solve the homeless problem and we can do it quickly," said Caruso. "My business has been building shopping centers, these great environments. That skill is so transferable."

In between campaign events, Bass has continued her work as a member of Congress, appearing with administration officials including U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Javier Becerra at Union Station.

"I plan to talk to him about substance abuse and mental health because those are two key reasons why people wind up unhoused and we are going to address our problem of 40,000 Angelenos unhoused. We have got to make sure they have healthcare," said Bass. "Substance abuse and mental health is a part of healthcare."

According to the latest early voting numbers from the L.A. County Registrar's office, there are 5.6 million registered voters in the county and 547,000 vote-by-mail ballots have been returned. Plus, more than 10,000 people have voted in-person so far.