First-year report on homeless efforts given at Larchmont Charter

| December 28, 2023 | 0 Comments

MAYOR KAREN BASS addresses the press about homelessness in the city.

Parents of students at Larchmont Charter School at Selma (LCS) flanked Mayor Karen Bass as she spoke to the media on Nov. 6 about homelessness in front of the school. She was on the sidewalk at 6611 Selma Ave. which 40 unhoused residents had called home before they were moved to interim housing on Aug. 10.

Now the area is clear. It’s passable to students, teachers, faculty and neighbors who want to stroll the sidewalk. No one has to walk in the street to get to school. That’s because of the mayor’s Inside Safe program, which housed the people who were living on this street.

“We are so grateful the mayor was able to find homes for the unhoused that were living here. Part of our school’s mission is to improve the community around us,” said Marian Bell, parent of a seventh grader and the homelessness outreach contact for LCS. Bell said that having this example right outside the students’ school is incredibly meaningful.

Mayor Bass explained how, since taking office a year ago, she has helped house more than 21,000 people. That is 5,000 more than were housed in 2022 and 5,000 more than she promised while campaigning for the office in 2022. She also said there had been a doubling of the number of people in permanent housing from last year.

Peeling an onion

She used an analogy to explain the complicated issue of finding housing in Los Angeles. “Confronting this crisis is like peeling an onion. You cry along the way because every time we take a step forward we find a barrier and we have to knock that barrier down… We will continue to knock down barriers until there are no Angelenos left to live and die on our streets.”

One way she and her team are doing this is by acquiring more data surrounding housing and homelessness. She wants to know, “Who is homeless? Who is moved into housing and how are they faring?” It’s all peels of the onion.

She has made it easier for developers to process permits and finish projects by cutting red tape and reducing permit wait time to 45 days from six months.

PARENTS OF LARCHMONT Charter School talk with Mayor Bass before the press conference.

Councilmembers Hugo Soto-Martínez, Nithya Raman, (chair of the Housing and Homelessness Committee), Bob Blumenfield (chair of the Budget, Finance and Innovation Committee) and Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Alberto Carvhalo spoke of how grateful they are for the mayor’s courage to confront this problem head-on. They also commented on how her connections in Washington, D.C., have been instrumental.

Bass has “locked arms with” — and had unprecedented partnerships at — all levels of government this past year. This includes multiple departments within the city, county, state and federal governments, said Carvhalo and others.

Because of the new and innovative approaches her office has implemented to confront homelessness, Los Angeles was chosen as one of five cities in the country to be selected for the federal ALL INside program. This is a first-of-its-kind program to address the unhoused at the federal level.

She admits that she still faces challenges and is looking to get costs of housing individuals down. She states that her office is taking historic action to keep people from falling into homelessness as well. “This truly is a matter of life and death,” according to Bass.

This visit to LCS Selma was part of the mayor’s weeklong tour of the city to mark the completion of her first year in office.

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