L.A. Councilman David Ryu Seeks to Find Housing for Homeless People Faster

Homeless but not hopeless - Everystockphoto: Photographer Omar Omar
Homeless but not hopeless - Photographer Omar Omar

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – Los Angeles City Councilman David Ryu today introduced a proposal to speed up the process of providing housing for the city’s homeless population.

“We have long called homelessness the crisis of our time, but we have not delivered a crisis-level response,” Ryu said. “I have spent time looking at what slows these needed solutions down, and it’s the structure of our city government itself. We need a central, citywide and FEMA-like response to the emergency of homelessness. That means reforming the way we build homeless housing in Los Angeles and reforming our city’s governing documents to allow red tape to be swept away.”

Ryu’s proposal would authorize the Office of the Mayor to identify and approve homeless housing developments and resources. It also calls for a report on the proposals and potential voter approval needed to make the changes and it calls for the creation of a Homelessness Response Division to expedite all-new homeless projects.

The division would handle all day-to-day homeless encampment outreach and management, working with the already-established Unified Homelessness
Response Center and it would research and propose policy changes for City
Council consideration.

The motion would authorize the City Council to declare a “Local Homelessness State of Emergency,” giving the mayor’s office jurisdiction to identify homeless housing sites, zone the land for the use of homeless housing, provide restrooms and safe parking services — all of which could bypass certain city regulations, according to Ryu.

Ryu cited a long wait for the construction of each homeless housing project as justification for his motion, which is planned to be discussed by the council’s Rules, Elections and Intergovernmental Committee.

He also introduced a resolution calling on the state to exempt all housing developments with 50% or more units dedicated to homeless housing, or housing with 100% affordable or supportive housing units, to be exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act.

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