Coalition of Over 130 Orgs and Civic Leaders Call for Permanent Housing and End to Criminalization Day Before Critical Council Vote on Homeless Plan
What: Press Conference the day before a crucial LA City Council Meeting/Vote on a Comprehensive Homeless Strategy – days after LAPD Commission Clears Officers in Killing of Charly “Africa” Keunang
When: 10:30 am on Monday, February 8th, 2016
Where: Los Angeles City Hall, South Steps
Who: Representatives of a coalition of 130 organizations, service providers, and religious and civic leaders calling for an end to the criminalization of homelessness and at least $100 million per year for permanent supportive housing.
Days after the controversial LAPD Commission decision to clear officers involved in the killing of homeless Skid Row resident Charly “Africa” Keunang and the day before a critical City Council Meeting on a “comprehensive” homeless plan, organizations and leaders from across LA will be holding a press conference at City Hall to demand a truly comprehensive homeless plan – one that dedicates substantial resources to building homes and ends the failed policy of homeless criminalization.
Last November, the coalition – representing the social, professional, racial and religious diversity of over 130 organizations and civic leaders from across LA – delivered a letter to City Council calling for an end to all policies that criminalize homelessness and to make the $100 million plan announced by the Mayor and Councilmembers a long-term reality, not just rhetoric. The letter reads:
- Identify long-term, sustained sources of local funding totaling at least $100 million per year and dedicate the large majority of those resources toward new permanent supportive housing units.
- End all “quality-of-life” and “Safer Cities” enforcement against homeless residents, including, but not limited to:
- Evaluating and repealing punitive laws such as LA Municipal Code 56.11, 63.44 B and 41.18D.
- Redirecting the $87 million spent on arresting homeless people, as identified in the recent CAO report, toward permanent solutions to homelessness.
- Provide emergency public health resources to people living on the streets without major investment in infrastructure, including mobile restrooms and showers, mobile health and mental health services, and voluntary storage facilities.
Since then, the City Council has engaged in a process of creating a long-term plan, but have yet to substantively address the ongoing trend of citing and arresting of homeless residents across LA. Moreover, the past week the police commission ruled the shooting of Skid Row resident Charly “Africa” Keunang “in policy.” The group maintains that in order to make a homeless plan truly “comprehensive,” the City should include a component that ends criminalization – similar to the LA County Board of Supervisors draft plan, which contains a policy recommendation that calls for an end to policies that make it illegal to be homeless.