DISTRICT 4 Newsletters
Breaking down this year’s homeless count | 7/08/23
Last week, we received the results of this year’s Point-In-Time Homeless Count which was conducted over three nights in January. The count revealed that last year, in the City of LA, homelessness increased by 10%, and County-wide an estimated 75,000 people are experiencing homelessness on any given night. These results are deeply disappointing, but in some ways unsurprising given the obstacles Los Angeles still faces in combating the crisis.
Despite a number of pandemic tenant protections LA had in place last year to keep people housed, evictions rose to pre-pandemic levels — a trend that correlates with more people ending up on the street. Though the city has thousands of affordable and supportive housing units in the development pipeline, slow construction, bureaucratic hurdles, and COVID delays have kept those units from coming online at the speed necessary to keep up with the inflow. The County of Los Angeles also continues to lack sufficient health and mental health services to bring the most vulnerable people on our streets into care.
Another contributing factor to the uptick in unsheltered homelessness was the dismantling of the Project Roomkey program. This program was subsidized by the federal government during the COVID pandemic and provided us with 4,000 new non-congregate shelter beds across the County. But after several extensions, funding for Project Roomkey ran out last year, which tragically resulted in some individuals ending up back on the streets.
In our district, we fought aggressively to save our Project Roomkey site and were able to reopen it as long-term city-funded interim shelter location in January – preserving 143 shelter beds in the district. Those beds have allowed us to see continued success across Council District 4 in bringing people off the streets and indoors, where we’ve partnered with PATH to provide services and case management.
Above all, these numbers indicate to me a need to move on from the piecemeal, district-by-district and city-by-city system that has always defined LA County’s approach to homelessness. Allowing small jurisdictions to operate as fiefdoms leads to a vastly less efficient system and people getting pushed across invisible borders rather than getting indoors. Homelessness is a regional crisis, and it demands comprehensive regional governance.
While the results of this Homeless Count are bleak, they reflect conditions from six months ago – so they don’t really factor in the infusion of new funds and resources coordinated by Mayor Bass through her Inside Safe initiative. The first Inside Safe operation took place in Council District 4, so we were able to see firsthand how truly impactful it can be –29 people from our district’s largest encampment moved indoors in just 4 days, and have since been provided with food, case management, and services daily as they await a match to permanent housing.
I’m optimistic that new energy around person-centered and sustainable homelessness solutions and the city’s recent shift toward a comprehensive citywide response will lead to more encouraging results next year. In the meantime, our work in Council District 4 continues.
I. Updates From City Hall — Increasing Our Affordable Housing Stock Through ED1, Revitalizing The Community School Parks Program, Reducing Permit Fees For Street Vendors, Addressing The Impacts Of Hollywood Sign Tourism
II. In The District —Kicking Off Summer At The Child Development Institute Soiree, Standing With Planned Parenthood, Remembering Tom LaBonge With A Memorial Hike In Griffith Park, Connecting With Business Owners In Franklin Village, Celebrating 4th Of July Across The District
III. Upcoming Events — Join Our Reseda Neighborhood Support Day, Free Movie In The Park, Celebrate The LA River At River Fest
IV. Resources & Forums — Free Summer Lunches For LAUSD Students, Harvard-Westlake River Project Public Hearing, Apply To Join The LA City Youth Council, New Metro Fares, Make Sure You’re Prepared For Heatwave Season
V. Construction & Closures
VI. Other Helpful Links
INCREASING OUR AFFORDABLE HOUSING STOCK THROUGH ED1
We are experiencing one of the largest affordable housing crises in the nation, in part because we have been unable to build enough units at the pace required to match the scale of need in the City. In response, my planning team and I have made it a priority since day one to ensure that we are not only streamlining the building of 100% affordable housing, but incentivizing it as well.
Our efforts were bolstered in December 2022, when Mayor Bass signed Executive Directive 1 (ED1), which largely exempts 100% affordable and supportive housing proposals from the City’s lengthy discretionary review processes. With ED1 set to expire, I co-presented a motion with Council President Krekorian and Councilmember Yaroslavsky to codify this policy into law.
I am extremely heartened by what we’ve seen come out of ED1 in just the last six months. In my own district, projects that could have been market rate became 100% affordable – all because of a change in City policy. Our affordable housing crisis can feel overwhelming but what ED1 shows is that we have real power to make change and we must use it.
REVITALIZING THE COMMUNITY SCHOOL PARKS PROGRAM
Since taking office, one of my top priorities has been expanding equitable access to parks, ensuring everyone in the City has the opportunity to enjoy safe, car-free, green spaces. In June, Council adopted my motion to significantly expand public park space in the City of Los Angeles by setting a goal of opening 25 Community School Parks (CSPs).
CSPs are joint-use agreements between school districts and municipalities or nonprofits that open school playgrounds, fields, and/or facilities to the public during non-school hours. During his tenure, former Mayor Eric Garcetti set the goal of opening 25 Community School Park sites by 2025 in his 2019 LA Green New Deal. Revitalizing this program and infusing it with new resources will enable Los Angeles to quickly and cost-effectively bring recreational space to neighborhoods that lack such facilities and provide safe play spaces for thousands of children and their families.
REDUCING PERMIT FEES FOR STREET VENDORS
We’ve taken major steps to bring street vendors into the formal economy by removing barriers to obtaining permits, particularly with the passage of SB972. However, the financial costs alone are still enough to prevent vendors from operating legally.
Last week, my motion to conduct a new fee study to determine the appropriate annual sidewalk and park vending fee for street vendors was adopted in Council! This legislation also extends the current reduced cost permit fee of $291 – which was put in place in September 2020 in response to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic – until an agreed-upon updated fee has been adopted by Council.
ADDRESSING THE IMPACTS OF HOLLYWOOD SIGN TOURISM
With vacation travel rebounding dramatically after years of hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic, my team and I worked to introduce a suite of motions that address safety concerns and the increasing strain on Hollywood Hills infrastructure from visitors driving, ridesharing, or taking tour buses on narrow residential streets to get up close views of the Hollywood Sign.
KICKING OFF SUMMER AT THE CHILD DEVELOPMENT INSTITUTE SOIREE
I was thrilled to join the Child Development Institute (CDI) for their Summer Soiree, gathering to acknowledge the remarkable community generosity that enables them to fulfill their mission. CDI is a Reseda-based non-profit that has been serving the San Fernando Valley and the greater Los Angeles community with a family-centered approach to early intervention services and free play-based Early Learning Centers for over 27 years. They continue to create nurturing spaces for children to thrive in supportive relationships and safe environments.
A special thank you to Founder and Co-CEO Tessa Graham, MS, MFT, BCBA, President and Co-CEO Joan Maltese, PhD., all of the CDI Board, and the brilliant team that continues to make CDI an active partner in Council District 4. I join you in celebrating the many local leaders and community members that are integral in making a difference for vulnerable children and families.
STANDING WITH PLANNED PARENTHOOD LOS ANGELES
June marked the one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization to overturn the national right to abortion in the United States. And, last week, I joined Planned Parenthood Los Angeles President (PPLA) and CEO Sue Dunlap at a gathering of supporters to discuss the landscape of abortion here in our city and where we go from here. One year in, 13 states have now enacted a complete ban on abortion with many more considering legislation that would criminalize abortion care, and PPLA has seen a marked increase in patients from out of state.
Last year, Council adopted my motion to draft an ordinance to ban City resources from being used to detain persons procuring, performing, or aiding in abortion care or to cooperate with out-of-state investigations related to abortion care procured in the City of Los Angeles. I am proud to stand with planned parenthood and look forward to continuing this critical work with our partners.
REMEMBERING TOM LABONGE WITH A MEMORIAL HIKE IN GRIFFITH PARK
Former CD4 Councilmember Tom LaBonge was one of Griffith Park’s biggest fans and advocates and it is always an honor to spend time in the park with his family. My team was able to join his wife Brigid, children Mary-Cate and Charles, and friends to honor Tom at their annual memorial hike to the Tom LaBonge Panorama at the top of Mount Hollywood.
Tom was notorious for his daily hikes in Griffith Park, starting every morning with a walk through the hills. To honor his memory, we worked with LA San to pick up trash along the trail, give away trash pickers (Tom’s favorite accessory!), and hand out compost pails. And, of course, no hike would be complete without Tom’s favorite pumpkin bread from the Monastery of the Angels, enjoyed at his favorite viewpoint which was renamed in his honor. For Tom and all the communities that enjoy our beautiful green spaces, we will continue to champion Griffith Park and the sustainable practices that allow it to thrive.
CONNECTING WITH BUSINESS OWNERS IN FRANKLIN VILLAGE
My office conducts regular business walks across the district to meet with local business owners and last weekend my team and I hit the streets in Franklin Village. We popped into Tailwashers & Tailwaggers and spoke with Todd Warner, browsed the incredible selection at Counterpoint Record and Books owned by Susan Polifronio and The Daily Planet, owned by Amy Lee, resisted a scoop of ice cream at Van Leeuwen, and met with other businesses along the way including Gelson’s, Birds Restaurant, and the Canyon Store. We discussed how our office can best help support their businesses and potentially bring back the annual Franklin Village Block Party!
I was especially excited to share the progress we’ve made on homelessness in the neighborhood. Through extensive and consistent outreach, my team has worked to connect all of our unhoused neighbors in the area with case management services to help get them into housing. Additionally, our CIRCLE Team now covers Franklin Village and is available to conduct unarmed response and proactive outreach to issues pertaining to homelessness. The CIRCLE team is also able to help create more inviting spaces for all by maintaining common spaces and sidewalks clear of debris and assisting with light trash pick-up –– including needle pick-up and disposal.
Businesses in our communities are critical not just to our local economy but as a cornerstone of our very neighborhoods, and I look forward to continuing to work with owners in Franklin Village!
CELEBRATING JULY 4TH ACROSS THE DISTRICT
I couldn’t have been happier to spend a beautiful Fourth of July in the district surrounded by so much community and celebration.
In Encino, we joined the 7th Annual Encino Woods Bike and Scooter Parade and Bake Sale! Kids hopped on bikes and scooters for a festive ride down Noeline to Otsego and then up Odessa to Moorpark, followed by a community gathering and bake sale to raise money for LA Family Housing. It was especially moving to connect with She Is Hope LA about supporting more single-mother families in the district.
In Studio City, we attended the longstanding Footbridge Square 4th of July Parade and Block Party! We gathered with NoHo Home Alliance Board President Andrew Silver, the LA Fire Department, and the children and families of Studio City to enjoy food trucks, bike rides, and raffles.
In Sherman Oaks, the festivities continued at the Kling & Longridge’s Annual Fourth of July Parade and Breakfast with a parade led by Station 102 fire trucks, a violin performance by the Kling Street Fiddlers, a bike decorating contest, AND a dog costume contest! We also stopped by Harry Calbom’s block party to distribute some compost pails and enjoy some burgers with a neighborhood grill party.
JOIN OUR RESEDA NEIGHBORHOOD SUPPORT DAY | JULY 19
I’m excited to announce that our next Neighborhood Support Day is on Wednesday, July 19th at First United Methodist Church in Reseda! This is the first Neighborhood Support Day we’ve hosted in the West Valley and we’re so happy to be partnering with LA Family Housing to make it happen.
Our monthly Neighborhood Support Days offer FREE services including: hot meals, showers, clean clothes, access to city departments that can provide: ID’s, birth certificates, vaccines, mental health services, and so much more – all in one place! Most importantly, our Neighborhood Support Days are open to anyone in need of support.
If you’d like to volunteer, be sure to sign up for our volunteer newsletter HERE!
To learn more about our Neighborhood Support Days and our person-centered approach to homelessness, watch our Instagram Reel HERE!
FREE MOVIE IN THE PARK | JULY 22 | MORE INFO
In partnership with the Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council and the Department of Rec and Parks, we’re pleased to announce another Movie Night on Saturday, July 22! Join us at the Van Nuys Sherman Oaks Park for a screening of “Mamma Mia!” The event begins at 6:00PM and the movie will start at dusk.
- DATE: Saturday, July 22
- TIME: 6:00PM to 10PM
- LOCATION: Van Nuys Sherman Oaks Park, 14201 Huston St
CELEBRATE THE LA RIVER AT LA RIVER FEST | JULY 23 | MORE INFO
This year, FoLAR is hosting its second annual River Fest – a free open-air arts, film, and community resource festival celebrating the LA River! River Fest 2023 will feature short environmental film screenings on a large outdoor movie screen, local artists, live music, food trucks, drinks, interactive art and education exhibits, raffles, and more.
All free general admission tickets include entry into River Fest, access to the evening’s films, exhibits, and performances, and one complimentary raffle ticket. Invite your favorite Angelenos and RSVP today to save your spots at LA State Historic Park on Sunday, July 23, 2023 at 5pm!
FREE SUMMER LUNCHES FOR LAUSD STUDENTS | NOW – JULY 28 | MORE INFO
Summer meals are back and will be served from June 13, 2023 to July 28, 2023, available for youth ages 1-18! Everyone eats and can enjoy a breakfast, lunch, and supper meal at no cost. For more information, including locations, visit here.
If you need assistance finding a place where you can get free food and meals, go to foodfinder.us.
HARVARD-WESTLAKE RIVER PROJECT PUBLIC HEARING | JULY 12 & AUG 24 | MORE INFO
In order to ensure adequate time for an in-depth review of the Final Environmental Impact Report documents for the Harvard-Westlake River Park Project by constituents, community stakeholders, and the council office, the Hearing Officer Public Hearing and City Planning Commission (CPC) meeting dates have been pushed back.
- The Hearing Officer Public Hearing will now be held on July 12, 2023 at 9AM.
- The CPC meeting date will now be held on August 24, 2023.
There remain multiple opportunities to share your thoughts on this Project. Comments received at the Hearing Officer Public Hearing will be summarized and provided to the CPC, who are the decision-makers for this case, in a staff report. The public can continue to submit comments at any time on any component of the Project, including on the entitlements or environmental review documents, including in writing at any point until the City Planning Commission meeting.
APPLY TO BE A MEMBER OF THE LA CITY YOUTH COUNCIL | NOW – JULY 23 | MORE INFO
The mission of the LA City Youth Council is to speak truth to power, identify bold solutions, and turn ideas into action to transform our communities in positive, lasting ways. The council seats 30 empowered youth from across the City who will serve a one-year term. During their term, members learn about the inner workings of local government, drive special community projects and civic events, and make policy and budget recommendations to elected and civic leaders of the City to improve the well-being, safety, and achievement of young Angelenos.
- Applicants must be 16 to 25 years old at the time of application
- Live within the boundaries of the City of Los Angeles (click on the link and enter your address to verify if you live within LA City boundaries)
- Provide one to two references (on the application you will be asked to provide their name, email, and/or phone number)
Click HERE for more information and to apply!
NEW METRO FARES | MORE INFO
Metro is simplifying how you pay your fare on bus and rail. It’s easy to use, equitable and sustainable. These changes will make it easier for everyone who pays with TAP to earn free rides.
What is changing? Metro is introducing fare capping, which means the more you ride, the more you will save. You will never pay more than $5 in a day or $18 within seven days. Once you reach the 1-Day or 7-Day fare cap, rides are FREE! Frequent riders will benefit the most.
MAKE SURE YOU’RE PREPARED FOR HEATWAVE SEASON | MORE INFO
Heatwaves are longer, more frequent, and more dangerous to your health! Stay prepared and protected with the following resources from the City’s HeatRelief4LA campaign:
- Make sure you sign up to receive extreme heat alerts from NotifyLA.
- Check the Cool Spots LA App or call 311 to find the closest cooling center near you during emergencies.
- Learn the warning signs of heat illness: heavy sweating, clammy skin, cramps, tiredness, dizziness, headaches, nausea, confusion, high body temperature.
- If you experience these symptoms and suspect heat stroke, call 911 and seek medical attention immediately.
For an extensive list of resources, visit Climate Equity LA’s website HERE.
- Sign Up For Updates — Newsletter and Volunteer Corps Newsletter
- Get In Touch
- Grant Requests
- Certificate Requests
- Scheduling Requests
- Transportation & Traffic Safety Requests
- Job Openings
- CD4 Renter Rights Guide
Services + Resources
- Food Pantry Locator — Get connected to food resources near you.
- StayHoused LA — Workshops and resources to help renters stay in their homes.
- MyLA311 — Submit a request for services including graffiti removal, pothole repair, and bulky-item pickup.
- LA-HOP Homeless Outreach Portal — Assist or self-input an outreach request from the LA Homeless Services Authority to unhoused residents.
- LA City Sanitation — Submit a service request for metal/household appliance disposal.
- MyChildCarePlan — Free resource website for childcare providers and families listing every licensed provider in California.
- Adopt or Foster A Shelter Pet— Find pets for adoption and a list of local shelters.
- Gas Assistance Fund – The Gas Assistance Fund (GAF) offers a one-time grant to help customers pay their natural gas bills.
- NotifyLA — Sign up to receive urgent notifications about local emergencies by phone, email, and/or text message.
- LAFD Alerts – Sign up for alerts on fires and evacuations in your area.
- LADWP Outage Info — Sign up for outage alerts in your area.
- StreetsLA Street Sweeping — Register for notifications about sweeping in your neighborhoods.