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Garcetti pushes for state bill to fund homeless housing

Garcetti pushes for state bill to fund homeless housing
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Assemblyman Miguel Santiago on skid row Monday. (Maria Alejandra Cardona / Los Angeles Times)

A group of Los Angeles-area politicians appeared at a skid row community center Monday to support a new state bill that would fund homeless efforts throughout California.

Homelessness is “the issue defining our state,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti, who was joined by Assembly members Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles) and Laura Friedman (D-Glendale).

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Assembly Bill 3171, authored by Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) and state Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens), would pay for homeless shelters, rental assistance, permanent housing and other efforts, and require cities to match any funds received from the program.

The bill doesn’t set a specific dollar amount, but the mayors of the state’s 11 largest cities are seeking a total of $1.5 billion. Legislators want the money to come from the $6.1-billion tax revenue surplus that’s expected from this year’s budget.

Statewide, there are 134,278 homeless people, according to the latest count. Los Angeles has more than 34,000.

Several other big-city mayors held a similar event last week in Sacramento to publicize the bill.

“We cannot continue to allow people to sleep on our streets every single night,” Ting said at the news conference.

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