Mayor Bass signs homelessness executive directive

Photo courtesy of Russ Allison Loar, via Wikimedia Commons

By Danica Rivera

The homelessness crisis is no stranger to the city of Los Angeles, as the prolonged issue stretches from the early twentieth century to today.

There are families and individuals in LA who find themselves destitute for many reasons including the lack of affordable housing, loss of employment, deinstitutionalization, and inadequate residential environments. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the amount of those unhoused further increased, with more than 69,000 people across the city not living under a roof, according to the LA Times.

On the very first day of her term as mayor of Los Angeles, former congresswoman Karen Bass declared a state of emergency due to the rising numbers of homeless people.

Sharing her viewpoint on homelessness in a podcast called “Gimme Shelter: The California Housing Podcast,” Bass firmly stated that the reason behind LA’s homeless crisis is due to “profound income inequality.” Living in LA comes at a high price.

Nine days later, on December 21, Bass signed an executive directive titled “Inside Safe,” which relocated those living in tents and homelessness camps off the streets and indoors, providing those individuals with affordable housing opportunities and support services. Bass estimated the program to cost less than $100 million, targeting chronically homeless encampments.
The initiative will be led by Bass’ chief of housing and homelessness solutions, Mercedes Márquez, and a cabinet of leaders from LA’s emergency management department, Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), and various other LA departments.

The intention behind Bass’ “Inside Safe” initiative is different from Municipal Code 41.18, the anti-camping ordinance that allows encampment sweeps off streets around schools and daycare facilities.

“This is not about cleaning up and clearing out,” Bass said in an interview with the Los Angeles Daily News. “Of course, that will happen in the context of it, but this is about outreach to people and getting them housed.”

For the time being, hotel and motel rooms are occupied by multiple unhoused individuals as permanent housing units are still undergoing construction that Bass hopes to be completed by the end of the year.