LA City Council approves Mayor Karen Bass’s declaration of a state of emergency on homelessness

LOS ANGELES (KABC) — Los Angeles is now under a state of emergency over homelessness. The City Council approved an executive order allowing Mayor Karen Bass to take an aggressive approach to housing the estimated 40,000 homeless people on the city’s streets.

“It will allow her to cut out a lot of the bureaucracy at City Hall, particularly around development and housing and the location of apartments,” said Raphael Sonenshein, executive director of the Pat Brown Institute at Cal State LA. “It will allow her to coordinate all departments, and she will really be the real CEO that a city like Los Angeles needs to have in crisis.”

In a statement, Bass said in part, “This is a monumental day for the City of Los Angeles, and I commend and thank the City Council for their prompt action and unanimous ratification of my declaration of a state of emergency. I look forward to continuing to join hands with City Council to advance a unified, citywide approach to our homelessness crisis. Together – let’s move Los Angeles in a new direction.”

Back in 2015, then-mayor Eric Garcetti declared a state of emergency for the homeless, but this was unsuccessful as the problem grew.

Mike Bonin previously served on the city council in 2015.

“Each winter, a shelter emergency is declared, and that allowed us to open the shelters to wet winter weather that we had seen earlier in Los Angeles,” Bonin said. “There used to be one near various armories across Los Angeles. This happened as a result of this type of arrangement. So Mayor Garcetti’s 2015 order was to allow other shelters to open year-round as soon as they did that year.”

Bass’ state of emergency grants her additional powers. Although the city council passed Bass’ statement on Tuesday, it took hours to get to a vote because embattled councilor Kevin de León showed up at the meeting, enraging protesters and forcing a pause.

“It’s quite demonstrative of what he’s done throughout his tenure. So he just sits back and raises money while everyone doesn’t want him here because he’s doing extremely racist and inappropriate things,” said Brett, a protester who didn’t want to share her last name.

De León also had supporters at the meeting who yelled back and forth with those who wanted his resignation. De León continues to refuse to step down and took part in the vote during Tuesday’s meeting.

“We will not use fear or threats to advance agendas in the council,” said Carlos Heredia, a voter and de León supporter.

Tuesday was the last city council meeting of the year and unless de León changes his mind, his presence on the council will continue to cause disruption next year.

Copyright © 2022 KABC Television, LLC. All rights reserved. LA City Council approves Mayor Karen Bass’s declaration of a state of emergency on homelessness

Laura Coffey

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