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Los Angeles Homelessness Crisis Seeks Timely Solutions Marketplace

Los Angeles has approximately 48,000 homeless people, according to a 2020 count from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority. Voter-approved measures to build more affordable housing are underway, but they do not meet the immediate needs of many people on the streets.

Los Angeles has set up “safe camping” sites at various locations, designated areas where people without homes can camp. The city provides a pallet, a tent and a storage bin.

Melina Abdullah, co-founder of Black Lives Matter Los Angeles, said these temporary solutions weren’t enough.

“I don’t want to see people sitting in a parking lot and acting like it’s housing,” she said. Abdullah is also not a fan of another temporary solution: Tiny Home Villages that offer shelters the size of tool sheds.

“Would your mom live there?” Abdullah said. “If your mum didn’t want to live there, it’s not accommodation.”

Abdullah said there should be enough space for permanent supportive housing in Los Angeles

Voters in Los Angeles funds approved to create 10,000 apartments more than a decade for people experiencing homelessness. But construction is slow due to a complex web of city, county and state hurdles that builders must navigate. At the end of last year, less than 1,200 were open.

A much faster solution is master leasing, a process in which service providers prepay for an entire building. They have control over who moves in and are responsible for taking care of the property. They also offer social services to tenants.

“It’s a way to get available units and get people who need to be housed or rehoused quickly,” said Veronica Lewis, integrated care system director for the homeless outreach program. The nonprofit has already started renting out properties, she said. He came in seven in the last year and a half.

Bins are provided to store personal belongings in a secure campsite. The site is fenced and the Urban Alchemy association offers services to the inhabitants. (Alborz Kamalizad/KPCC)

Meanwhile, the State of California is working with cities to expedite new construction.

“We’re in a better position when people act with a sense of urgency, getting their rezoning done as quickly as possible,” said Megan Kirkeby, deputy director of housing policy at the California Department of Housing and Community Development.

But some cities in California push back a new state law that would allow the construction of multi-family housing units on many single-family lots.

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