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).
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.