Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass announced her first city budget proposal for the 2023-24 fiscal year, asking the city council for $1.3 billion in homelessness initiatives.
Homelessness was of the most vocal commitments Bass made during her campaign for mayor last year, declaring a state of emergency immediately after taking office and now asking for more funding than has ever been budgeted for in Los Angeles.
“This budget is a reflection of our values and invests in the most critical needs in our city,” Bass said in a press conference at Los Angeles City Hall Tuesday. “This budget makes investments to bring people inside and public safety and in other areas that will net a return in terms of lives saved, in terms of quality of life and better neighborhoods, and it will save the city money in the long run.”
Part of the mayor’s plan for homelessness includes $250 million to be allocated to the Inside Safe strategy, which Bass launched in December 2022. The Inside Safe plan is to have outreach teams communicate with different homeless communities in the city and offer housing at motels and permanent units, both of which Bass is asking $178 million to develop. Bass is also asking for $23 million toward substance abuse treatments for those in the homeless communities who may need it.
“This budget breaks new ground, by funding the purchase of hotels and motels, which will reduce cost,compared with renting rooms,” Bass said. “The purpose of purchasing the hotels and motels is because we really do need a permanent infrastructure for temporary housing.”
Mayor Bass’ second primary focus for the budget revolves around increased LAPD hires, as she noted staffing was at its lowest since 2002.
“This budget supports an urgent effort to also grow the police department, to make up for attrition, to reach an end of the year size of 2,500 officers,” Bass said. “We must be bold to change the downward trend in the size of LAPD as we work to restore the department to its full size.”
After Bass announced her plan to add 780 new LAPD officers and attempt to bring back 200 retired officers, Black Lives Matter, Los Angeles (BLMLA) co-founder Melina Abdullah shared a survey on Twitter, asking Angelenos how they feel about the budget spending and where they want their money tax to be allocated. BLMLA also questioned the mayor’s decision to mention the names of the three men who died in LAPD custody this January, while at the same time praising her working partnership with LAPD Chief Michel Moore.
Smaller investments in the budget will go toward “income inequality” initiatives, infrastructure repair for roads, sidewalks and bus shelters, as well as tree planting and removal care.
The proposed budget will now be deliberated by the Los Angeles City Council, where they will make suggestions and edits before the new fiscal year begins in June.
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