LOS ANGELES, CA — Today, during a virtual press conference, Los Angeles City Councilmember Kevin de León (District 14) unveiled his plan to address the city’s most pressing public policy matter – the unrelenting homelessness crisis affecting every community across the City. A Way Home represents a first of its kind in that it is a comprehensive effort to address the homelessness crisis that has gripped Los Angeles.
“Sadly, our great city has lacked what I call a ‘Northstar,’ a clearly defined objective, and a timeline for achieving that objective. By introducing a comprehensive plan, we are providing a way for the people we represent to hold us accountable for delivering results,” said Councilmember de León. “Our Northstar must be a goal around which everyone – city, county, state, and federal partners – will organize and work to achieve. That is why today, I am introducing ‘A Way Home’ – a plan that unites all of us around a common objective: building a path to ending the homelessness crisis in Los Angeles.”
A Way Home describes a series of motions aimed at achieving 25,000 new homeless housing units by 2025, through revamping city policies and regulations that have long prevented the construction of housing units needed to move tens of thousands of unhoused Los Angeles residents into clean, safe, and affordable units across the city. De León officially introduced the package of 9 motions during Tuesday morning’s council meeting, with the support and co-authorship of several of his colleagues on the Council.
Councilmember de León was joined by members of the state legislature, organized homeless advocates, affordable housing experts, organized labor, and community and religious leaders who offered their support for his vision. Mary Leslie, President of the Los Angeles Business Council, also joined the press conference to highlight the importance of ensuring businesses are partnering with city government to rise to the challenge of housing Angelenos.
“I am committed to pressing my colleagues in the Assembly to support this program, and others like it, that aim to strategically and comprehensively reverse the homelessness crisis in our state,” said California Assemblymember Miguel Santiago, who represents an overlying area of Council District 14 including Downtown Los Angeles. The plan further calls for the review and reconsideration of citywide funding for projects that have been approved for special funding – but have yet to become shovel-ready. A Way Home also streamlines cumbersome approval processes in an effort to eliminate major barriers to the production of cost-effective housing projects.
State Senator Maria Elena Durazo, another member of Southern California’s legislative delegation, told de León, “Councilmember, I am with you in this effort to move members of our unhoused community into safe and affordable housing. I will take this fight with me to Sacramento to ensure we secure funding for this devastating crisis.” “Hard-working people shouldn’t have to live in fear that they’ll be put out of their residences or their families forced to move to the streets,” said Ada Briceño, co-president of UNITE HERE.
“Housing should not be like winning the lottery. It is a basic right. Not a privilege. And it shouldn’t only be for the privileged.” Rev. Kelvin Sauls said, “Let us be very clear. We are in the midst of not only a humanitarian crisis but a clear moral challenge to how we, as a society, will respond.” Andrew Gross, Instructor of Affordable Housing Development and Finance with the UCLA Ziman Center for Real Estate, offered his support for A Way Home, saying “Councilmember de León is right when he says the current system is not working, not meeting the needs of our unhoused Angelenos.” Dr. Sam Temberis, founder of Pathways to Housing, applauded A Way Home, saying, “The program that Councilmember de León is initiating today utilizes the shared holistic approach to homelessness and ventures beyond the average approach to homelessness that starts and ends with providing housing services.” For more information about A Way Home, visit https://www.awayhomelosangeles.com