Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti signed an executive directive Wednesday aimed at speeding up a program to install temporary homeless shelters across the city.
“No amount of red tape should stand in the way of our fight to end homelessness,” he said. “We have to use the unprecedented resources, partnerships and political will to bring our unsheltered neighbors off the streets.”
The shelter program was first proposed by Garcetti during his State of the City speech in April and was approved by the council this month when it finalized the city’s proposed 2018-19 budget, which includes at least $20 million for the “A Bridge Home” initiative and a potential $10 million more that could be used in a variety of ways to support homeless programs.
Executive Directive 24 requires city departments to fast-track temporary shelter projects, allowing those that meet legal and environmental standards to open their doors in as little as 32 weeks, Garcetti’s office said.
The city in April declared a shelter crisis and was the first in California to take advantage of a new state law allowing local governments to build homeless shelters on any land owned or leased by the city. The law also allows cities to adopt alternative public health and safety standards in order to quickly install shelters.
The shelters would stand for three years, which Garcetti and other leaders have said is enough time for the city to build permanent supportive housing funded by Measure HHH, a 2016 ballot initiative that is expected to raise $1.2 billion over 10 years. Neighborhoods with shelters will see an increased encampment clean-up effort, and the shelters will also have numerous support services, including on-site mental health, employment, addiction, and wellness resources, Garcetti’s office said.
The program’s goal is to have shelters in each of the 15 council districts, but a proposed shelter in Koreatown has been met with significant backlash, with opponents staging at least four demonstrations over the last few weeks and circulating an online petition that has garnered at least 9,400 signatures.