Archive for herb wesson

The Answer to the Homeless Crisis in Los Angeles is Simple: House Keys, Not Handcuffs

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on September 22, 2015 by Cangress

State of Emergency Meme

City Leaders’ Proposal Lacks Resources for More Housing and Lacks Specifics about Changing the Policies of Criminalization

This morning members of the LA City Council and Mayor Garcetti announced a “State of Emergency” on homelessness and promised an investment of $100 million toward services and housing.  While this announcement is a step in the right direction, it is unacceptable that only $13 million in one-time funds were actually identified with no real plan for the additional $87 million or other long-term investments.  Additionally, increases in financial resources towards this crisis will only work if the City abandons what has been its primary approach toward homelessness over the past decade: criminalizing the lives of homeless residents.

Let’s be clear – the City has invested millions upon millions of dollars toward homelessness in recent years. But far too much of that money has gone to LAPD to enforce unjust and often illegal laws that simply punish people for being poor and that make it even more difficult to get out of homelessness. Just last year LAPD spent $87 million of the $100 million that went toward homelessness out of the City’s general fund to arrest homeless residents.  Citations, harassment, displacement, arrest, jailing – this is what that money is spent on, when there is only $10 million in general fund money in the City’s affordable housing trust fund. Is it any wonder then why homelessness is up 12% since 2013?

Lack of investment in housing production, poverty wages, an ever shrinking social safety net, and the most expensive rents in the country drive many of the 13,000 people A MONTH who are pushed into homelessness in LA County. But, make no mistake about it, it is the failed policy of criminalization through LAPD enforcement that prevents people from rising out of homelessness when the limited opportunities arise.

If the City Council and the Mayor are serious about ending homelessness, their announcements would include new and substantial sources of long-term funding combined with a call to end to laws, policies, and approaches that emphasize LAPD enforcement over services and housing.  Homeless outreach workers cannot be successful without actual housing units to connect people to, and they can’t connect with someone who is in jail for ticket given to them for sitting on the sidewalk.  What good is a meeting with a housing specialist if homeless person’s possessions are taken and potentially discarded during that appointment?  What good are more outreach workers without more housing?  We have a lot more questions than answers right now.

In short: You can’t use house keys when you are wearing handcuffs. We finally hear the City Council and Mayor talking about the crisis – now will they actually ensure house keys and call for an end to the handcuffs?

Demand a One-Year Rent Freeze

Posted in food access, grassroots policy, health access, housing victories, legal with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 23, 2010 by Cangress



Councilmember Alarcon has introduced a motion for a one-year moratorium on any rent increases in rent-stabilized buildings in Los Angeles.  This moratorium needs to move forward VERY quickly or it could get lost in the city’s budget process.  Landlords are already calling Councilmembers and weighing in against it – not surprisingly.

But….there are more tenants and tenant supporters than there are landlords – so they need to hear from us now! Please make your own calls and ask colleagues, members, neighbors and others to make calls between today and Friday, April 30th. Be sure to specifically tell the Councilmembers if you live or work in their district – but call them any or all as an LA resident.

We are asking for at least 2 calls from each person in the next week:

FIRST and most urgent: Call Councilmember Herb Wesson who is Chair of the Housing and Community Economic Development Committee (HCED).  Strongly urge him to schedule the moratorium proposed by Councilman Alarcon to freeze rent increases for rent controlled units from July 2010 – June 2011. We want him to schedule it on the HCED agenda on or before May 5th.  We also need to urge his support for the final policy.  The motion was introduced in City Council and is now waiting to be heard in his committee.  If Wesson does not put it on the agenda, it can’t be drafted.

District 10, Herb Wesson, 213-473-7010

Sample script if needed – My name is___________  and I am with (organization name) and  a resident of the City of Los Angeles (tell him specifically if you also live in his district).  I am calling to ask that Councilmember Wesson put the moratorium preventing rent increases on the agenda for the next HCED meeting.  I want him to know this issue has to be on the agenda by May 5th or it won’t be enacted in time to prevent rent increases this year.  I also would like to know if Councilman Wesson plans to vote in favor of the moratorium (and if he does not support it, why not?)

SECONDLY Please call the councilmember that represents your neighborhood and/or the area your organization works in.  Below are organizations who already volunteered to make calls in specific council districts – we need to cover as many councilmembers as possible, so take on as many districts as makes sense.  Email me to update me on which district(s) you can cover.   OUR GOAL IS THAT EACH COUNCILMEMBER RECEIVE AT LEAST 500 CALLS OVER THE NEXT WEEK.  We are urging each of these councilmembers to support the moratorium because renters simply can’t take any more increases during these tough economic times.

Sample script if needed – My name is___________ and I am with (organization name) and I am a resident of the district.  I am calling to ask that Councilmember_________ vote in favor of the moratorium on rent increases for rent controlled units.  The moratorium is only for one year. We are ONLY seeking a temporary break on our annual rent increases.  Tenants are faced with reduction in wages and increases in utilities and transportation costs.  These savings will help us cover other basic necessities to survive.  Can we count on the Councilmember’s support?

For these councilmembers, make calls and urge them to support the moratorium (commitments to date listed):

District 1, Ed Reyes, (213)-473-7001 – Comunidad Presente, Coalition LA, Inquilinos Unidos, Healthy Homes Collaborative

District 2, Paul Krekorian, (213)-473-7002 – we need organizations here who have members!

District 4, Tom LaBonge, (213)-473-7004 – CES, KIWA

District 5, Paul Koretz, (213)-473-7005  We need organizations here!

District 6, Tony Cardenas, 213-473-7006  We need organizations here!

District 9, Jan Perry, 213-473-7009  LACAN, Comunidad Presente, SAJE, Esperanza

District 11, Bill Rosendahl, 213-473-7011  POWER

District 13, Eric Garcetti, 213-473-7013  CES, LACAN, Healthy Homes Collaborative

District 14, Jose Huizar, 213-473-7014  Union de Vecinos, LA CAN

District 15, Janice Hahn, 213-473-7015  POWER

LASTLY – don’t forget to call Councilmember Alarcon and thank him for introducing the motion and tell him you support it!

District 7, Richard Alarcon, 213-473-7007

Stay tuned for more information – a LOT more action will be needed to achieve this crucial victory.  You may see numerous emails on this issue as several coalitions and organizations are actively involved – don’t delete them!  We need everyone engaged.