Homeless 'shelter crisis' declared by Los Angeles City Council

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The City Council declared a homeless “shelter crisis'' today in a move that will allow Los Angeles to open more shelter facilities.

The city's ordinances were recently amended by the City Council to be consistent with state law and allow it to declare a shelter crisis on an annual basis for a period of 365 days per year and not only be limited to the winter months.

By declaring a shelter crisis, the city can create more immediate and short-term shelters by allowing nonprofit organizations and faith-based institutions the right to provide shelter without going through onerous and costly processes, and authorize the use of city-owned property and facilities for emergency shelters, according to the motion, which was approved with an 11- 0 vote.

“While the recently adopted Measure HHH and the county's Measure H offer a true sea change of hope in addressing homelessness in the long-term, with tens of thousands of people living on the streets of our city today, we are in the midst of a homelessness crisis of epic proportions,'' said Councilman Jose Huizar, who introduced the motion with Councilman Mike Bonin.

“Today's vote gives us the ability to act on that crisis in the short- term while giving hope, help and service to people who desperately need it.''

The 2016 homeless count found there are 28,000 homeless in the city.

“If a natural disaster put 28,000 people on the streets of Los Angeles, we wouldn't hesitate to call it a shelter crisis and do everything possible to give people shelter,'' Bonin said.

“That is the same urgency with which we should be dealing with the homelessness crisis. This shelter crisis declaration will give the city the tools we need to offer people needed alternatives to resting their head on pavement every night.''

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