The Los Angeles City Council Friday unanimously approved $150,000 to hire homeless and formerly homeless people for cleanup crews as well as additional resources to address illegal dumping.
City Councilman Jose Huizar, who represents the southeast section of the city, including Skid Row, started the effort earlier this month when a report from Los Angeles Sanitation found most of the illegal dumping was significantly related to homelessness.
“I’m glad our city council understands the urgency of this public health crisis and has moved quickly to address it,” Huizar said. “We need these resources to be implemented as soon as possible to clean our streets to match the emergency we’re in.”
Huizar said he wanted a “triage-like response” to combat the amount of illegal dumping in the city. The money will help initiate more enforcement, fines and rewards to target violators. City departments will also report on specific practices for addressing illegal dumping.
With this funding, LASAN will work with a community partner to employ homeless and formerly homeless people to collect trash. The council Friday also approved $2 million for overtime for LASAN crews to work through July, August and September until additional teams are in place.
Huizar’s motion was seconded by Council members Nury Martinez, Monica Rodriguez, Curren Price, Joe Buscaino and Marqueece Harris-Dawson.
In late 2017, Huizar and council members called for additional city crews to deal with an “enormous and insurmountable” backlog of service requests for cleanups. The next year, the council and mayor doubled the number of crews dedicated to homeless encampment cleanups. Friday, there are 20 crews that operate as either Clean Streets LA or HOPE teams, tasked with addressing sanitation and other concerns related to homeless encampment
There remain challenges to quickly hiring and training the necessary staff to deploy these crews at the beginning of the new fiscal year, Huizar said. LASAN reported that since the beginning of 2019, it has responded to an average 1,200 illegal dumping requests per month. The volume of requests has create an ongoing backlog, Huizar said.
Service requests are centralized and tracked through the 3-1-1 system or MyLA311 app.
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