Los Angeles County Joins Culver City, City of LA in Declaring Homeless Emergency

Everyone agrees; it’s an emergency. 

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass declared homelessness to be an emergency on her first day of office, followed by Long Beach Mayor Rex Richardson. At the Jan. 9, 2023 Culver City Council meeting, the “proclamation of a local emergency on homelessness” was approved. Today, Jan 10, 2023, the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors has also declared the homeless crisis to be an emergency. 

While there may be a legal border that separates Los Angeles from Culver City, it only exists on maps. What happens in one city is simultaneously happening in the other. The county is the entity that both cities are defined within. Creating the legal platform for all of these to work together is an essential step in relieving the misery caused by the housing shortage. 

 Mayor Bass today commended the County Board of Supervisors’ unanimous approval of an emergency declaration on homelessness. “I want to thank Supervisor Horvath, Supervisor Barger and the entire Board of Supervisors for unanimously locking arms between the County and the City by declaring an emergency on homelessness crisis,” said Mayor Bass. “The people … deserve that we urgently and immediately take every possible action to bring unhoused Angelenos indoors, and this declaration will enable us to move faster and unlock every tool possible.”

According to the Los Angeles Times, the County’s emergency declaration directs the Chief Executive Office, Homeless Initiative, Office of Emergency Management and all other County Departments to take necessary steps for the protection of life, health, and safety of people experiencing homelessness in LA County.

What does all this mean for the homeless? 

It’s about setting aside bureaucratic standards, opening the metaphorical checkbook, and giving the agencies who need it broader range to act. Culver City’s proclamation gives the specific order for “regulatory relief from other jurisdictions and within Los Angeles County agencies to create flexibility to address the crisis.” 

Supervisor Kathryn Barger stated “This emergency proclamation boils down to cutting red tape. It’s the County’s job to provide the critical mental health, substance abuse treatment, and case management services that make a world of difference in helping people experiencing homelessness get off our streets and back on their feet. Our efforts have been persistently hampered by a lack of personnel and bureaucratic processes that slow down our ability to hire, fill positions, and contract for services. ”

The City of Culver City’s proclamation, in addition to embracing the already scheduled Project Homekey interim and supportive housing and Mobile Crisis Intervention Team looks to create a Safe Camping program. Continued support for long time programs such at St. Joseph’s Center and Upward Bound House are specified, as well as a”continuation of support for renter’s rights and tenant protections.” 

The purpose of all these legal announcements, from cities and the county, is to allow for faster action and broader connection between agencies that address the crisis. 

Everyone is in agreement; it’s an emergency. 

Judith Martin-Straw

The Actors' Gang