Mike sent the following message to neighbors on May 12, 2021.
I am fighting aggressively to house people so we no longer have encampments on our sidewalks, or at our parks and beaches.
That statement might sound surprising if you’ve heard some of the crazy rumors spreading on social media, talk radio, and even some television coverage. Some are claiming I have proposed that the city allow homeless encampments at our parks and beaches. That rumor is not true. On the contrary, what I have proposed is designed to reduce encampments, so that our public spaces can return to full public use.
What I am proposing is this: While we step up efforts to house people, the city should conduct a feasibility analysis of whether a number of different locations, including LAX land and three beach parking lots, could be used for different types of temporary emergency shelter. I have also asked that the feasibility analysis consider whether two local parks with existing encampments could restore the bulk of recreational space to public use by designating a certain area for existing unhoused residents. In all cases, the proposed solutions would provide security, sanitation and services, and focus on getting people into housing.
These are not encampments. They are an emergency response—an alternative—to encampments, and they are temporary solutions meant to get people off the streets and into homes.
My priority is on long-term and interim housing. This week, we opened 44 new units of housing in a former motel in Westchester. Next month, we will open 33 more units at a former motel in Venice. Yesterday, Governor Newsom announced billions in state dollars that I hope can be used for the range of solutions we need: short-term rental subsidies, master leasing apartment units, shared housing, converting motels into housing, building new units, reunifying people with their families, expanded health care and mental health services, substance abuse programs, job training and more.
In the meantime, I want to identify potential locations, if needed, for emergency interventions, like cabin communities, safe parking, and designated camping areas with security, sanitation, and services. And I want to make sure we are exploring potential sites in all parts of the district, and not just in some communities. This is very different than encampments. You can check out the photos below.
There is no need greater than to end our homelessness crisis. There is no demand bigger than to make sure our sidewalks, parks and beaches are not filled with encampments. The way to address the need and to satisfy the demand is the same — provide the housing and services the governor’s proposal funds.
If you would like to read more about what we are doing to address homelessness, please visit here.
Councilmember, 11th District