In the debate over Mayor Eric Garcetti’s $8.8 billion proposed budget for fiscal 2016, the issue of homelessness is front and center.
Of the $8.8 billion, $138 million is designated toward homeless programs. Compared to last year, when only $34 million was set aside for the same issue, Garcetti’s latest plan marks a turning point in his handling of the housing crisis. But if it gets approved, not everyone will be pleased.
The proposal is likely to draw ire from residents of affluent communities where Garcetti hopes to build affordable housing, many of which have fought similar projects in the past.
A $47 million chunk of the budget is expected revenue from selling city property or using it in partnerships with private developers to build low-income housing. Garcetti and City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana have identified eight city properties for this purpose. Half of them are in Westside neighborhoods that have rebelled against proposals for affordable housing projects in the past, the L.A. Times reported.
Another $20 million of the homelessness budget would come from “linkage fees,” or money collected from developers that would go toward low-income housing.
The proposal is sure to highlight tensions around an issue that has become increasingly dire.
During Garcetti’s time in office, the homeless population has grown by 12 percent. It is now the nation’s largest homeless population without access to any kind of shelter.
The proposal is currently under review. City council must pass a budget, whether it be this one or an amended version, by June 1. [LAT] — Cathaleen Chen