On any given night in Los Angeles, more than 41,000 people go to sleep without a place to call home. Single mothers and fathers, veterans and the working poor, those with medical needs and others who just need a second chance; their struggles are an indictment of our tattered social safety net and a bureaucracy that has paralyzed itself into inaction.
For several years in my early twenties, I was homeless. I lived in my car, relied on the kindness of friends for a place to stay, and even spent two years sleeping on the floor of an office building where I worked.
It’s that experience that drives me to act with urgency, where others have preferred to triangulate, study, and poll-test the best way out of our city’s homelessness crisis.
That’s why I moved so quickly to create more homeless housing opportunities in the last year than anyone else in the City. All told, I have created over 1,600 units of emergency housing since being sworn into City Council – and we’re not done yet. In fact, just 10 months into my term, the City Council unanimously adopted my “25×25” plan– 25,000 units by the year 2025 – in order to help house those who are experiencing homelessness.
Anyone can make big promises about solving homelessness, but the difference is: I’m already doing something about it.
As Mayor, I will take this same action-based approach and hit the ground running to get our fellow Angelenos off the street and into housing, and to get them the help they need.
Councilmember de León’s plan to create 25,000 units by 2025 was unanimously passed by the City Council. This program will scale up the production of emergency housing quickly, and includes permanent supportive housing – which is what’s needed to provide our unhoused neighbors a fair shot at the life they deserve. It also requires the City to utilize creative housing solutions like adaptive reuse, tiny home shelters, and master leasing to put a roof over peoples’ heads quickly.
This will reduce building costs and speed up production of units by requiring departments to respond to developers within 15 days of receiving plans for review.
Overhaul the process for identifying usable properties that could be transformed into interim shelter and permanent supportive housing.
For too long, the city has allowed developers to buy their way out of creating affordable housing by paying in-lieu fees. Instead, Mayor de León will require the inclusion of affordable housing in new projects; and incentivize further development by upzoning commercial corridors and expanding adaptive reuse.
This is a newly created program that gives tenants a baseline of protection from predatory landlords. Critically, Mayor de León will implement the ordinance prior to the end of the eviction moratorium.
Approximately 90% of tenants facing eviction lack access to counsel, yet the right to counsel is one of the most cost-effective ways to keep people in their homes.
This means creating a team – directly accountable to Mayor de León – that will lead negotiations with Sacramento and Washington D.C. for resources to deal with homelessness and mental health – from increasing the value of Section 8 vouchers to funding for wraparound services. This is a generational fight for the soul of our City, and we have to marshall all available resources.
The city currently has entities to provide job assistance or help with receiving critical resources for those in need. This needs to be expanded throughout the city by doubling the amount of FamilySource Centers and WorkSource Centers
A person shouldn’t have to be a danger to themselves or others to get the support they need. We will also lead the State to make it easier for families and loved ones to provide much-needed help for those truly too incapacitated to accept it.