L.A. needs $1.2B from state to combat growing homelessness crisis, city official says

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The city of Los Angeles says it housed thousands of people over the last year but the number of homeless still went up 16% to 36,000 people.

"This is a statewide crisis - housing affordability is an enormous challenge for California," said Peter Lynn with the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority.

Councilman Mitch O'Farrell says since it is a statewide crisis the state needs to send money. He says the state will have a $21 billion surplus and he wants $1.2 billion of that money, which would match the amount of voter-approved Measure HHH.

"I don't want to hog all of the money, but I think requesting a match is very reasonable because even if they said 'Yes, will sign the check tomorrow' they'd still have over $20 billion in surplus," said O'Farrell.

City officials say 1,400 units will be open by the end of the year and more supportive housing units will be approved for construction soon.

"These improvements aren't going to be visible overnight but in about a year from right now, we're going to have nearly 14 new units of permanent supportive housing that the voters approved and we have nearly 10,000 in the pipeline," says O'Farrell.

O'Farrell says the next step is to pressure representatives in Sacramento to change state law to help Southern California.
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