L.A. Business Council: We Support Legal Imperative to Shelter Homeless

Homeless man in Los Angeles
Image: Terabass/Wikimedia Commons

L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas and Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg have called for California to enact a legal imperative to provide a roof for every homeless individual and family.

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Business Council (LABC) Executive Board today released the following statement:

Today the number of people living on the streets has risen to nearly 60,000 in L.A. County, with an average of three people dying daily from illness, addiction and other consequences of living without shelter.

It is time for L.A.’s homeless crisis to be treated with the same urgency and expediting of resources as we’ve done to address other crises, such as the Northridge earthquake.

In fact, the majority of Angelenos agree. A new poll commissioned by the Los Angeles Business Council Institute and the Los Angeles Times in partnership with the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs found that 95% of voters countywide rate homelessness as the most serious issue facing the region, with 63% believing we are facing an ’emergency situation’ that requires breaking with longstanding practices to solve.

The same poll found that 75% of voters support a legal ‘right to shelter’ that would prioritize urgently bringing people indoors.

In light of the growing crisis and justified public outcry, the Los Angeles Business Council is standing in support of L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas’ and Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg’s call for California to enact a legal imperative to provide a roof for every homeless individual and family. This legal obligation would compel California cities and counties to prioritize resources to get any homeless person who wants to be brought indoors a safe place to sleep with a roof overhead.

Whether a shelter, navigation center or permanent housing, this legal imperative must be combined with a package of services aimed at physical and mental health needs to put people on a pathway to a permanent home.

Funding for this initiative should be covered by redirecting untapped state resources coupled with a combined effort to engage private and nonprofit philanthropic investments.

The State should also make an emergency appropriation of $2 billion to local jurisdictions for funding the development of 20,000 units of emergency shelters and bridge housing at a cost of less than $100,000 per person.

The LABC embraces the will of the voters who spoke clearly in the recent poll: approach the issue with empathy, break the mold, and treat this as the crisis it is by moving forward with a great sense of urgency.

We must commit the necessary resources toward immediate solutions while continuing to focus on long-term approaches to this complicated challenge that has come to define our city, county and state.”

About LABC

For over 80 years, the Los Angeles Business Council has had a major impact on public policy by harnessing the power of business and government to promote progress in the Los Angeles region in the areas of energy, housing, transportation, international trade and economic development. We are successful at driving progress because we ground our efforts in evidence-based research, build diverse coalitions, and create a path forward for meaningful and measurable progress.

Today our 500+ members represent business and civic leaders from all industry sectors who are focused on innovative public policy that strengthens our economy while improving quality of life for all of us. We work in tandem with our research arm, the LABC Institute, to achieve these ambitious goals.

Learn more about city efforts to end homelessness:

How Santa Fe Is Addressing Homelessness

An Infant’s Death and the California Family Homelessness Crisis

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