Things That Matter

Here’s What These 6 LA Mayoral Candidates Plan To Do About the Homelessness Crisis

With the June 7 primary right around the corner and mail-in ballots already being sent out, one major issue Angelinos want the next mayor to solve is the homelessness crisis.

Los Angeles ranks no. 2 for the highest number of people experiencing homelessness in the nation. Those most affected by this crisis identify as Black, Latinx, LGBTQ+, and/or formerly incarcerated. How does a city with a homeless population of at least 63,706 as of 2020 go about solving an issue of this magnitude? Each candidate running for mayor brings their own perspective.

Kevin De Leon’s action plan includes creating 25,000 housing units by 2025. He touches on the importance of identifying more land to build on as well as mandating affordable housing policies on developers. He’ll use the power of the law to appoint counsel to all tenants, something he points is the reason most people lose their homes in the first place. He’ll protect tenants further by enforcing the tenants’ anti-harassment ordinance which repels predatory landlords. De Leon touches on the importance of mental health resources, going as far as proposing the creation of a Los Angeles Department of Public and Mental Health. 

Craig Greiwe plans on ending homelessness in under four years. He believes the money already allocated to the city will do the job. He points to fourteen other cities in America that have solved the complex issue as examples. Greiwe proposes instituting a real-time mapping program to keep tabs on the scale of the problem. By focusing on the individual needs of each person experiencing homelessness, he can then lead by prescribing exact solutions to exact problems. Greiwe will call on Community Solutions, an organization already in the weeds of solving the crisis in more than 80 cities and counties nationwide.

Karen Bass’s proposal includes transitioning 15,000 people experiencing homelessness into housing by the end of her first year as mayor, building both temporary and permanent supportive housing, and ending street encampments. Her plan touches on providing mental health and substance abuse treatment services along with proper job training and employment support services to the homeless. She has yet to clarify whether she would increase taxes for residents.

Joe Buscaino’s plan contains three parts: building housing more quickly, connecting homeless folks with housing and enforcing a ban on encampments in parks and sidewalks. His plan fails to contain as many specifics as those polling higher than him but does mention being open to using law enforcement to remove people from the streets. 

Rick Caruso touches on many of the same issues plaguing the homelessness crisis but does so using more aggressive rhetoric. He is telling voters he will demand support from the state and federal government, push the city council out of the decision-making process, and order accountability on Proposition HHH, a proposal that in 2016 collected upwards of 1.2 billion for housing projects, with little to show for it in his view. One number Caruso throws out is building 30,000 shelter beds in his first 300 days.

Mike Feuer is charting his own lane by prioritizing calling on private donations from the city’s philanthropists, large companies and banks to fuel the creation of housing units. On top of his list is also rethinking how the government approaches people experiencing homelessness, touching on something other candidates inadvertently leave out: the humanity that must be preserved with each individual. He plans on treating the homelessness issue as a symptom of the unemployment crisis rather than a stand-alone problem.

It becomes more difficult to pinpoint specific action plans with other candidates running for office possibly due to the lack of airtime they receive. That said, the candidates covered above are the ones who have been able to provide the most comprehensive proposals on the campaign trail and on their official websites. 

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