L.A. city, county and Trump administration in talks to help the homeless

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A deal with the Trump administration to provide funds and land to house and help the homeless in Los Angeles and elsewhere in Los Angeles County is closer to being reached thanks to a series of phone calls.

Publicly, President Donald Trump has slammed local lawmakers over their handling of the homeless crisis plaguing the Southland. But, behind the scene, his attitude may be different.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti spoke with Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, who has been receptive to the mayor, indicating federal money, land facilities could be offered to the city soon.

RELATED: Trump administration rejects CA effort to obtain more funds to fight homelessness

Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair Kathryn Barger spoke by phone with Carson, according to her spokesman, Tony Bell.

"We're asking for anything that can help us solve this homelessness problem,'' Bell said. "Mental health treatment has to be a top ingredient in the mix, in addition to other supportive services, including job training and veteran outreach.''

Carson tweeted Wednesday he "looks forward to a new partnership'' with Garcetti and Barger "that will benefit our fellow citizens.''

Trump on Monday tweeted if "the city or state in question is willing to acknowledge responsibility, and politely asks for help from the Federal Government, we will very seriously consider getting involved in order to make those poorly run Democrat Cities Great Again!''

Trump has sharply criticized California's Democratic leaders in the past. including during a Fox News interview in July 2019 when he slammed the rising homelessness in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

"This is the liberal establishment. This is what I'm finding. I don't know if they are afraid of votes. I don't know if they really believe that this should be taking place but it's a terrible thing that's taking place."

RELATED: Garcetti responds to Trump's comments that homeless crisis 'started two years ago'

Meanwhile, Gov. Gavin Newsom earmarked a $750 million fund that providers could tap to pay rents, fund affordable housing or aid boarding and care homes.

In addition, the Democratic governor said the final portion of $650 million in emergency homeless aid to cities and counties approved in June was released Wednesday after a final federal homelessness count.

The report by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development found California's homeless population increased 16% last year, to about 151,000 people. That's more than a quarter of the national total.

The Associated Press and City News Service contributed to this report.
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