On Tuesday, Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass announced that $1.3 billion of her proposed $13 billion budget will go toward addressing homelessness.
He called the number to address the homelessness crisis “unprecedented,” an increase of 9.7% from the previous year. Bass set aside 20% of his homeless budget, $250 million, for Inside Safe, which is designed to move homeless residents from street encampments to the interior. Previously, the program had been renting rooms in the city, but Bass’s team is looking to acquire at least eight motels or hotels.
“This is a truly historic budget commitment by the city, because much of the state and federal pandemic money of the last two years is no longer available,” he said during his state of the city address Monday.
Since taking office, homelessness has been at the top of his agenda, along with rebuilding the ranks of the Los Angeles Police Department.
The council must review and approve the Bass budget by May 31. Once approved, the full spending plan will cover the fiscal year beginning July 1.
According documents Released by the City of Los Angeles Mayor’s Office, the money is distributed across 31 departments and funds that address homelessness and housing, including funding for police department homeless services and the Los Angeles County Authority. Los Angeles Homeless Services.
Bass is committing more money to homelessness than any previous city budget. The new mayor’s first spending plan reflects a leveling off after years of exponential growth in homeless spending fueled by state grants and the voter-approved $1.2 billion Proposition HHH homeless housing bond in 2016.
In his first two years in office, Mayor Eric Garcetti increased the homelessness budget from $10 million to $100 million in 2015. Over the next six years it increased from $100 million to $1 billion.
Bass’s budget, like Garcetti’s, includes hundreds of millions of dollars in state grants and capital expenditures from Proposition HHH. Those sources were dwindling from their peaks in the later Garcetti years.
With many of the housing projects already completed, Proposition HHH spending was reduced from $416 million to $261 million. That decrease was offset by new money from Measure United to House LA (ULA)a property sales tax that was approved by voters in November.
Bass plans to use $150 million in revenue from Measure ULA for home acquisition and rehabilitation. Due to the risks of pending legislation challenging the measure, the proposed budget includes only a fraction of the $671 million projected to be raised this year. Funding will primarily focus on preventing homelessness first, rather than building new construction.
The proposed budget for LAPD homeless services includes $8.3 million in overtime for sworn officers to patrol the vicinity of temporary homeless housing sites. The mayor’s documents indicate that part of the increase, double the previous year, is due to the increase in the cost of living that applies to overtime.
Funding for the state’s Homeless Housing, Assistance and Prevention Program, which includes four grants (some of which have been carried over), represents $230 million of the budget, more than double the $92 million in Garcetti’s last budget. Funds will be used to support shelter operations, Project Homekey, outreach, public health services, and programs for youth who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
Another large part of the budget increase is $68 million in federal grants that include the acquisition, rehabilitation and management of the Homekey Project sites. Grants are down $13 million from the prior year.
The city will direct $38 million to LAHSA, about the same as the previous year, largely to fund street outreach, shelter operations and the annual homeless count.
Bass’s proposal also includes $72 million, $3.16 million more than last year, to fund positions for the CARE+ program: Comprehensive Cleaning and Rapid Engagement Plus — which removes abandoned waste and cleans up homeless encampments.
The funds will also go to the city’s Department of Community Investment for Families. Solid Earth Program, which will distribute money to community organizations to help Los Angeles residents with financial assistance and housing search and case management. The program is estimated to receive $4.1 million, which is 2½ times more funding than last fiscal year.