Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announces boost in fight against homelessness amid recall effort

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- As he faces increasing public pressure on the issue, Mayor Eric Garcetti on Wednesday announced a new boost in efforts to fight homelessness in Los Angeles.

Garcetti is facing a growing recall effort that is focused on what supporters say is his failure to fight homelessness.

The mayor announced the city is dedicating additional personnel and funds to fighting the crisis.

"Homelessness is a massive emergency in our city," Garcetti said. "It's a crisis unlike anything we've seen before."

"A human-caused problem, no matter how many decades in the making, can be a human-solved problem as well," he added.

Starting July 1, the city is adding 47 new positions to the 212 city employees that currently respond to calls related to homelessness, such as street cleanups and providing services to those on the streets, Garcetti said.

The city is also boosting the number of sanitation teams from 20 to 30.

Los Angeles will also provide mobile bathrooms and showers for those living on the streets.

In addition, Los Angeles is spending an additional $6 million to help sanitation crews with better equipment and extra supplies.

The city is also deploying CARE teams - standing for Cleaning and Rapid Engagement. Members of those teams will focus on the same neighborhoods every day, getting to know the local residents and homeless, and taking a proactive approach to fighting problems rather than just responding to complaints.

Asked about the recall effort against him, Garcetti told ABC7 that "getting rid of somebody overnight isn't going to solve homelessness."

"I hope that the person -- 3 1/2 years from now when I stop being mayor - who succeeds me will have the same passion," the mayor added.

As of Wednesday morning, the online petition to recall Garcetti had received 9,391 signatures. The threshold to reach the ballot requires over 300,000 voter signatures. It nonetheless represents at least a symbolic statement about public unrest with the growing homeless problem.

Organizers of the effort to recall Garcetti say the mayor has failed to stop the crisis from getting worse. They note that voters approved $1.2 billion in new affordable housing units in Proposition HHH in 2016, but not a single unit of housing has been built.

"Eric Garcetti has failed to prevent homelessness," said Alexandra Datig, one of the organizers of the recall effort.

On Wednesday night, Garcetti was awarded a humanitarian award by the Salvation Army at a fundraiser in Beverly Hills.

The fundraiser aimed to raise $1 million to help those most in need, like the homeless population.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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