At a press conference today, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced they were giving Los Angeles a $60 million grant to help unsheltered and rural homelessness. It is the largest available amount to be awarded by HUD in the grant program.
“These funds will enable the Los Angeles [Continuum of Care] to coordinate street outreach, as well as expand permanent housing options, leading to intensive care management and health services,” said Jason Pu, the HUD Regional Coordinator for California.
In 2022, there were 69,144 unhoused people in LA County, according to a count done by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority.
The announcement follows a series of state of emergencies on homelessness declared by L.A. Mayor Karen Bass, L.A. City and L.A. County over the past two months. This declaration gave Bass “the power to lift rules and regulations that slow or prevent the building of permanent and temporary housing for the unhoused,” according to the official L.A. mayoral website. Bass gave an update on her efforts at the press conference.
“My executive directive to reduce the time and cost of building affordable housing and shelter in L.A. is already underway, and we are discovering barriers that have prevented or slowed down the building of housing or placing of individuals,” Bass said. “We’re identifying these building barriers and we are identifying what we need to cast these barriers aside.”
Along with Bass’ declaration last year, she established the Inside Safe Initiative, which will attempt to reduce homeless encampments and move unhoused individuals inside. Yesterday, Bass announced launching the initiative in South Los Angeles and continuing on the Westside.
Officials at the press conference reaffirmed that the only way the initiative can work is if different government agencies collaborate.
“If we’re going to bring L.A. County residents inside, we need a united approach across every level of government,” said Janice Hahn, the Chair of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. “I joined [Mayor Bass] on day one, locking arms between the city and the county of Los Angeles and committing county resources to Inside Safe.”
L.A. County spent over $1 billion in the 2021-2022 fiscal year, according to the Los Angeles County Homeless Initiative and is still in an ongoing crisis.
When asked how L.A. County would spend this new money, Bass emphasized the importance of collaboration.
“I think what is different…is the alliance and how we are all functioning together,” Mayor Bass said. “And we understand that we have to be lockstep. The city builds, the county provides services. So working together is what is really critical.”
Bass also called on Va Lecia Adams Kellum, The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority CEO, to talk about the specifics of how the money would be used.
“Funding of motels and immediate shelter…and then permanent housing,” Adams Kellum said. “So every step of the way, Inside Safe will be supported by this increase. And it is a collaboration.”
Homelessness remains a top issue for Angelenos. Adams Kellum said she would try to give weekly updates on the progress of the Inside Safe program and how the county spends the $60 million.