LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Mayor Karen Bass is preparing to launch a new program to address homelessness in Los Angeles where teams will be moving homeless people from tent encampments into hotels and motels.
The new program, called "Inside Safe," is set to launch Tuesday.
The plan, which Bass said will cost under $100 million, will be to use master leasing with motels to place the homeless. She said her office has been in touch with motel owners near encampments.
"If you build affordable housing under my executive directive, the city will complete the approval process within 60 days. Then, when construction starts, the permit utility and certificate of occupancy process will be completed in just five days," Bass said. "That's five days for 100% affordable housing projects and in no more than two days for temporary housing. That is the urgency we need at City Hall and that is what we are delivering."
On her first day as mayor of L.A., Bass declared a state of emergency on homelessness. She vowed to get people housed and more housing built so that residents can see a real difference, which hasn't been visible despite billions spent on programs to curb homelessness, including $1.2 billion in the current city budget.
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Bass has said she intends to get over 17,000 homeless people into housing in her first year through a mix of interim and permanent facilities. An estimated 40,000 people are homeless in L.A., a city of nearly 4 million.
Bass said outreach workers will try to coax people indoors. People are homeless for a variety of reasons, including mental illness, addiction and job loss.
The mayor's office did not provide on Sunday details of the housing program, including what it would cost and where the money would come from.
Gov. Gavin Newsom first launched the idea of placing homeless people in motel and hotel rooms at the start of the pandemic in 2020. He has since encouraged cities and counties to convert motels and other buildings into housing for homeless people.
Advocates for the homeless have welcomed the use of motel rooms, where people can have their own bathroom far away from the clutter of congregated shelters. But they have criticized what they call "sweeps" of encampments that force people to move and separate them from their belongings in the absence of a firm motel room offer.
Todd asked Bass how to judge her success on eliminating homelessness.
"Encampments should be significantly down if not eliminated, and there should be housing being built, underway, at a much more rapid pace," she said. "And there should not be 40,000 people who are unhoused, that's for sure."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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