Representative Karen Bass used her Los Angeles mayoral campaign launch event to reiterate her pledge to make tackling homelessness her top priority if elected.
âIn 1994, we treated the (earthquake) emergency like an emergency,â Bass, D-Los Angeles, told Los Angeles Trade Tech College on Saturday. “We mobilized local, state, federal, private and non-profit governments. Neighbors helped neighbors. We found temporary shelter and rebuilt our city. In record time.”
“We can fix our city again. Forty thousand people on the streets are an emergency. Solving this emergency – solving homelessness – will be my top priority as mayor.”
Bass called Project Roomkey, which uses vacant hotel and motel rooms to house homeless people, a success, but added “we need to cut red tape and do motel buying and renting. ‘hotels a key part of our strategy so that we can immediately move people from our sidewalks, parks and beaches to safe and comfortable rooms. “
She also called for “focusing on temporary housing and portable structures quickly built like the safe trailers used by FEMA after natural disasters” and linking housing with services.
Bass also pledged to “work to support and strengthen the business community because I care about income inequality, and we need to make LA attractive to businesses large and small that offer paid jobs so that people can afford housing “.
“We need to make sure that minority and women owned businesses are included and participate fully,” Bass said.
“We need to use the platform that the mayor, the chair of bullies and the official authority of the mayor have, to celebrate our city, recruit employers, clean up neighborhoods and cut red tape, so that we can attract good jobs in LA and rebuilding our middle class so that we can attract jobs that pay mortgages, that pay for college savings, that pay for retirement, and that provide dignity and stability. â
Emmy and Grammy-winning comedian Tiffany Haddish also spoke, recounting her upbringing in foster care and homelessness.
Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who announced his support for Bass on Friday, was among the other speakers, as was Representative Judy Chu, D-Monterey Park.
Bass would be the first female mayor of Los Angeles and the second black mayor, after Tom Bradley, mayor from 1973 to 1993.
Bass’s focus on homelessness echoes the rest of the estate seeking to succeed Mayor Eric Garcetti, who is barred from running for re-election due to term limits.
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City Councilor Joe Buscaino also described homelessness as an emergency and pledged to “treat it with this level of urgency”. Its homeless plan includes building âmore homes, fasterâ and connecting homeless people with temporary housing.
Buscaino called for a ban on camps in parks and on sidewalks.
âFor those who refuse to go to shelters or permanent housing, we must take all available measures to get them off the streets,â Buscaino said. “If that means using the help of law enforcement, I support it.”
City Councilor Kevin de Leon called homelessness âthe moral issue of our livesâ. He pledged to create 25,000 new housing units by 2025, cut red tape to speed up construction and permitting, demand affordable housing in new buildings and identify opportunities to capitalize on gone from unused public and commercial spaces.
City attorney Mike Feuer has pledged to declare a state of homeless emergency on his first day in office and “appoint and empower a high profile person on homelessness, who will report to directly from me “.
Feuer said his “goal will be to make shelter available to everyone by the end of my first term.”