In November 2016, voters in Los Angeles gave our elected officials a clear mandate and deadline for addressing homelessness in our city: Build 10,000 units of supportive housing within 10 years. Since then, the ball has been in City Council’s court and Angelenos have been waiting for a clear plan of action. We know that in order to make good on our commitment to helping our homeless neighbors, we need our elected officials to act with urgency and with an eye towards long-term solutions. Supportive housing is 90% effective at reversing homelessness, which is why we collectively chose to put $1.2B behind it through funding from Proposition HHH. Now we need our elected leaders to start approving new sites and units in their districts.
On February 21, City Council President Herb Wesson took a significant first step forward and launched a new initiative to approve 3,330 new units of supportive housing within three years. He has committed to authorizing the construction of at least 222 units of supportive housing in his own district and is calling on his colleagues in City Council to do the same before July 1, 2020. “With each councilmember’s pledge, Los Angeles is sending a message: actions speak louder than words in the fight against homelessness,” said Council President Wesson as he announced the 222 initiative. “Homelessness is not an issue we will solve overnight, but it is one we will continue working on around-the-clock.” Now, the rest of City Council has the opportunity to follow Wesson’s lead and ensure that every district is doing its part to address homelessness by building the supportive housing we so desperately need.
So far, councilmembers Nury Martinez, Marqueece Harris-Dawson, Jose Huizar, Mike Bonin, Paul Krekorian, and David Ryu have joined Council President Wesson and pledged to approve at least 222 units of supportive housing in their districts. They’ve also taken the opportunity to speak up on the importance of operating with both urgency and consistency, across the entire city. “We did the glitzy part, but now we have to get the work done, brick by brick, block by block,” said councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson.
The 222 pledge gives us hope that we can start counting on our elected officials to have a little courage and work together and do what it takes to meet the deadline of 10,000 new units of supportive housing in 10 years.
“We see too much fearfulness by elected officials and neighborhood leaders and others that if you provide services to the homeless, if you build housing for the homeless, somehow that’s going to create additional problems for the neighborhood,” said councilmember Paul Krekorian. “I’m here to say, this is the solution to problems in the neighborhood.”
Has your City Council representative taken the 222 pledge yet? Check our scorecard and find out. If they have, thank them. If they haven’t, ask what they’re waiting for.