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El Paisano

The L.A. City Council Approves New Laws For Housing Homeless People

The Los Angeles City Council unanimously voted on two new laws to make housing homeless people an easier process. The laws that were presented to the Los Angeles City Council were approved Wednesday morning.

Before the vote, Councilman Jose Huizar said “the law will allow homeless housing projects to go through our planning process a lot faster and for less cost.” One of the laws states that homeless housing projects that meet certain requirements will be able to avoid a long environmental review at City Hall. 200 units of homeless housing are planning to be built annually with government funds under the new rules. Homeless advocates are hoping to boost the city’s goal to build 10,000 units in a decade.

The second law that was approved will make converting motels into housing easier. This will provide a way to get homeless people off the street meanwhile construction for the new buildings take place. In a statement, Mayor Eric Garcetti said “this crisis demands that we look at using every available resource — and cut as much time as we can out of the construction timeline — for housing that we need now.” Garcetti is planning to sign the two ordinances into law this week.

In response after lawmakers passed the ordinances, activists said the city had lagged in building homeless housing and suggested to city leaders to transform Parker Center, which use to serve as the headquarters for the Los Angeles Police Department, into housing.

Members from community groups have some concerns about these two new laws. The group Venice Vision say the city is removing important protections by approving homeless housing projects to go through the planning process without environmental review or public hearings.

The Sylmar Neighborhood Council opposed the law to convert motels into housing and states the city needs more police presence and cleanups in the San Fernando Valley before this conversion takes place.

There was small controversy in the City Hall while reviewing these laws, according to Tommy Newman, director of public affairs for the United Way of Greater Los Angeles, because the silent majority want the supportive housing to happen now.

 

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Rio Hondo College Newspaper
The L.A. City Council Approves New Laws For Housing Homeless People