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L.A. Now Has Real Money for Homelessness but No Real Plan

L.A. has a new bond issue and a new sales tax for homelessness. But Mayor Eric Garcetti and the City Council actions to alleviate homelessness have been tepid and slow. Affordable housing developer and Michael Russell has some suggestions.
July 7, 2017, 9am PDT | wadams92101
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Daniel Arauz

Los Angeles passed a $1.2 billion bond measure in November to fund homeless housing. Then in March, it was a quarter-cent sales tax for homelessness, which is estimated to raise as much as $355 million annually. Unimpressed with the initial plans of Mayor Garcetti and the City Council in the wake of the new found money, affordable housing consultant Michael Russell suggests they start by following the lead of a couple of other Mayors—one present (Bill de Blasio in New York City) and one past (Tom Bradley in Los Angeles). Contrasting the city's current tepid actions, Russell suggests how Tom Bradley would have done it: 

"On the day after the November election, Mayor Bradley would have filled council chambers with his advisory committee, each of the council members, homeless advocates, homeless service providers.  This gathering would be comparable to the announcement of the 1984 Olympics.  The meeting would have been led by John Argue, the articulate leader of the Olympics effort (Today, I would recommend Rick Caruso).  It would be a day for each of the council members and the homeless in that district.  (Yes, they would have been bused to City Hall.)  All the media would be there.  The Mayor’s message: “We are going to solve this HUMAN issue.”

Over the Thanksgiving weekend, the Mayor would have hosted 20 “block parties” for the homeless.  With the help of United Way, Red Cross, Union Rescue Mission and major caters, music and other events would have lifted the spirits of all these people.

Of course, none of this happened.  Mayor Garcetti and the City Council do not think this way, but this is how problems get solved."

In addition to expanding on how Bradley would put the money into action, Russell also contrasts New York City's actions on homelessness, then concludes with nine essential changes that must be made "to change the trajectory of the homeless population." For details, please see the source article.  

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Published on Thursday, June 29, 2017 in UrbDeZine
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