LA City Council President Introduces Motions to Address Poverty, Livability

Los Angeles Homelessness

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LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez today introduced a series of motions aimed at ``breaking the cycle of poverty'' and ``building a livable city.''  

Speaking at length during the council's meeting Tuesday ahead of introducing the motions, Martinez said the city's inequality was highlighted during the pandemic, ``but existed long before.''  

``As city leaders and as representatives of these communities, these are the very people that we need to fight for,'' Martinez said. ``The L.A. that is working for those who are wealthy and have access isn't working for the people who I represent and who a lot of us represent.''  

The first motion introduced by Martinez focuses on ending family and childhood poverty by 2035 and would have the City Council officially adopt that goal for the city.  

It also would instruct the Community Investment in Families Department to develop a plan to meet the goal, including through recommendations for a prioritized expansion of current city programs and the creation of new programs to help the city meet the goal.  

The motion would also instruct the Community Investment in Families Department to work with the state, the county and the Los Angeles Unified School District on the plan.  

The Chief Legislative Analyst, meanwhile, would be tasked with reporting on a list of all city programs and efforts aimed at reducing family and children poverty in Los Angeles and identify any service gaps.  

The City Administrative Officer and the CLA would report on a list of anti-poverty programs and policies in the city that are tied to its response to the COVID-19 pandemic and provide recommendations on how to continue them beyond the current state of emergency.  

``In 2019, 100,362 families and 193,369 children under the age of 18 lived below poverty levels in Los Angeles. Nearly a quarter of all kids under the age of 5 in Los Angeles live in poverty. These are heartbreaking truths and shameful strains on the moral fabric of our city and nation,'' said the motion, which was seconded by Councilwomen Monica Rodriguez and Nithya Raman.  

The second anti-poverty motion introduced by Martinez is aimed at creating pathways to homeownership and notes that while 74% of white households were homeowners in 2021, only 44% of Black households and 48% of Hispanic households owned their homes.  

The motion would direct the Los Angeles Housing Department to report on the financial need among low- and moderate-income potential homebuyers in Los Angeles and to work with the CAO on how to build out the city's First Time Homebuyer program to increase the number of loans and financing options provided to L.A. homebuyers. That motion was seconded by Councilmen Kevin de Leon and Mitch O'Farrell.  

Martinez's motions aimed at ``building a livable city'' begin with a motion aimed at building intergenerational wealth and improving the city's housing stock by using the state's newly loosened zoning laws under Senate Bill 9.  

The motion, if passed, would instruct the CAO to work with the L.A. Housing Department, the Department of Planning and the Department of Building and Safety on a program to help low-income Los Angeles residents build and upgrade accessory dwelling units through new financial incentives. That motion was seconded by Councilwoman Nithya Raman and Councilman Paul Krekorian.  

``The city can create new financing tools to help low-income property owners and Community Land trusts upgrade and build additional (accessory dwelling units). This can be a powerful tool in assuaging the fears of thousands of Angelenos while spurring economic development and increasing the city's housing stock,'' the motion, seconded by Councilman Gil Cedillo, stated.  

Martinez introduced two additional motions aimed at building a livable city that focus on revitalizing Van Nuys and adding green space to the Van Nuys Civic Center, which she said has very high need in terms of park access, citing the Los Angeles County Park Needs Assessment.  

One of those motions, if passed, would order the Department of Public Works to convene regular meetings with several departments, including Recreation and Parks, to convene regular meetings to establish a work plan for revitalizing the Civic Center Plaza.  

The next motion, if passed, would focus on improving the neighborhood, which Martinez said lacks investment, park space and affordable housing.

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