Activists rallied for a press conference at Los Angeles City Hall on Wednesday to demand stronger short-term solutions for the city's homelessness epidemic.
Mayor Eric Garcetti declared a homeless "state of emergency" in September 2015, planning to commit $100 million to fighting homelessness.
However, according to activists led by the LA Community Action Network (LA CAN) at Wednesday's press conference, the "state of emergency" was little more than political rhetoric.
"We believe that since one year ago, conditions have not gotten better. They've gotten worse," said Pete White of LA CAN. "For the most part, all of the strategies that have been put forth are long-term strategies, not strategies that meet the immediate needs of people on the ground."
According to a count conducted by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority in January, homelessness rose by 11 percent in the city of LA and 5.7 percent in the county over a span of one year.
In an effort to combat this growing problem, Proposition HHH is on the ballot Nov. 8. The $1.2-billion bond measure aims to develop low-cost housing to alleviate homelessness. The measure has garnered the support of Garcetti and several City Council members, in addition to White and other activists.
"Without proposition HHH, there will be no political will in the city of Los Angeles to invest local resources into the ultimate solution: that's housing the homeless," said White. "Without HHH, the city of LA and the politicians in this building will continue doing what they have always done: continue to criminalize."
Los Angeles Municipal Code 41.18 (d) makes it illegal to "sit, lie or sleep in or upon any street, sidewalk, or other public way."
Craig Roberts of LA CAN demanded that Garcetti "call off the dogs" and "stop the enforcement of quality of life crimes like the right to rest."
Stopping the arrests and criminalization of the homeless is one of three key demands made by the activists. They also demand that the homeless have 24/7 access to facilities like showers and bathrooms and are provided with cleaning supplies to maintain their hygiene.
Some of the activists aren't convinced that the government has spent its money appropriately.
"We want to ensure that all resources allocated to Proposition HHH go to building very-low-income housing," said LA CAN Organizer Sylvia Hernandez. "In the past, we have seen, so many times, resources for the homeless go to the LAPD to police the people on the street."
Garcetti holds firm that he's doing everything in his power to fight for the homeless.
Connie Llanos, the mayor's press secretary, said in a statement: "As he continues to advocate and secure more funding for permanent supportive housing that will get people off the streets for good, the mayor has invested more city resources than ever before to provide immediate relief where it's needed most. Last year alone, Mayor Garcetti allocated $71 million for critical services, including rapid rehousing subsidies, expanded shelter beds, and city programing to support homeless Angelenos."
Proposition HHH requires a supermajority of 67 percent to pass this November, and faces many critics, who argue that its unprecedented price tag wouldn't actually address the root of the problem.
White remains firm that action must be taken to give the homeless "house keys, not handcuffs."
"If it is, in fact, a homeless state of emergency, we have got to move out like it is a state of emergency."