UPDATED 8:16 AM PT – Friday, July 12, 2019
The Los Angeles Police chief has declared homelessness in LA County a humanitarian crisis. Chief Michel Moore outlined his solution for the crisis at a press conference Thursday. Part of Moore’s plan would be to dismiss thousands of old warrants for minor offenses to help people on the street recover and break the cycle. He is also calling for more mental health workers to hit the streets and meet one-on-one with the county’s homeless.
“First of all, we’re in a crisis — this is a humanitarian crisis of our generation,” he stated. “This matches any other calamity that this city and this region, or this country has seen — it is, I believe, a social emergency.”
Homelessness in the county has reportedly jumped 12-percent in the past year, bringing the total number of people on the streets to about 59,000.
This comes as two high profile California lawmakers take aim at President Trump’s comments regarding the state’s homeless crisis. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and California Governor Gavin Newsom are pushing back against criticism from President Trump about their lack of leadership. In a recent interview, the president threatened to intercede in San Francisco and Los Angeles, and described the results of chronic inaction in California as “disgraceful.”
At first the mayor took the comments in stride, saying the crisis is “decades in the making” and can not be blamed on any one individual. However, his tone changed once Governor Newsom got involved.
“Cheap political points don’t help a veteran get off the street,” stated Garcetti. “I’m concerned about those people, and I hope he will be too.”
Over the past year, major cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco have experienced a rise in homelessness in the double digits, which has put thousands of people on the streets. Growth in the Bay Area has been so rapid, homeless encampments can now be seen from satellite images in space.
“We’re in a crisis, this is a humanitarian crisis of our generation. This matches any other calamity that this city, and this region or this country has seen. It is, I believe, a social emergency. It cannot be, in my view, overstated.” — Chief Michel Moore, Los Angeles Police Department
While Garcetti and Newsom claim the issue can be fixed with more federal funding, others say the problem goes much deeper. The high cost of living, drug addiction, systemic problems with rehab centers, and the exploitation of welfare benefits are reportedly contributing factors to the crisis.