The Los Angeles City Council joined Los Angeles County in trying to get California Gov. Jerry Brown to declare a state of emergency for the problem of homelessness.
Brown rejected a similar appeal from the county Board of Supervisors in June.
The City Council voted Tuesday to ask Brown to declare homelessness a statewide emergency.
Brown has said he believes programs are best developed at the local level, but the state is engaged in multiple efforts to deal with housing including a $3 billion bond ballot measure that would provide low-income housing.
The California Emergency Services Act "explicitly grants the governor complete authority over all agencies of the state government to promulgate, issue and enforce such orders and regulations as he deems necessary," Los Angeles Chief Legislative Analyst Sharon Tso wrote in a report recommending the City Council encourage the governor to take such action.
"Should the governor declare a State of Emergency as it relates to homelessness and exercise the powers enumerated under the act, authority could be given to waive existing state statutes or local laws that will help expeditiously deal with homelessness in local municipalities," Tso wrote.
California has roughly 21% of the nation's homeless people and Los Angeles has the greatest density of the homeless population in the nation, Tso wrote. Of the 115,000 homeless people in the state, 28,000 reside in Los Angeles, Tso wrote. The city has experienced an 11% growth in homelessness in a year, she said.
The city is working in partnership with Los Angeles County and the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles to more effectively coordinate the funding of services and project-based vouchers for permanent supportive housing projects. The city's Housing and Community Investment Department is also advancing a parallel effort to develop 13 city-owned parcels for affordable and permanent supportive housing.
On July 25, Mayor Eric Garcetti invited affordable housing developers to submit proposals to develop city-owned properties for homeless residents.
That day City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana released a request for qualifications and proposals for eight city-owned sites, with multiple parcels that will either be sold or developed. These sites represent at least $47 million of the city's plan to invest $138 million towards homeless programs, services, and housing in Los Angeles during this fiscal year.
The development or sale of properties comes as the city prepares to place a general obligation bond on the November ballot to raise $1.2 billion for housing. Combined with Garcetti's proposed affordable housing linkage fee, the city is raising enough funding to nearly double the city's regular production of affordable housing and more than triple its production of permanent supportive housing for the homeless, according to the mayor's office.
"Too many of our residents need help. It is our responsibility to act now and leverage every resource at our disposal — including our publicly owned land," Garcetti said in a statement. "My office is working with the City Council to aggressively pursue new funding streams for permanent supportive housing, and address homelessness with the urgency that it deserves."
The city will create a list of prequalified firms to develop parcels for homeless people or those at risk of becoming homeless. The developers will be selected based on their capacity, level of experience, and the strength of their proposed development strategy. After the RFQ/P process is complete, the city will determine whether each site is better suited for sale or development. The properties will either be developed into affordable housing using the land value as a subsidy, or sold for fair market value to raise revenue for the construction of permanent supportive housing for the homeless.
Councilmember Mike Bonin said the city needs "to look at every available piece of city-owned land and determine if we can use it for housing, or for revenue to build housing."