DISTRICT 4 Newsletters
What works: supporting renters & investing in housing | 9/19/22
September 17, 2022
On September 8th, LA’s 2022 Homeless Count numbers finally came out. This is an annual federally mandated count of individuals experiencing homelessness, undertaken over multiple nights, usually in late January by thousands of volunteers who walk or drive our city’s streets. Last year’s count was canceled due to COVID — so this was really the first time since the pandemic started that we got a snapshot into our progress on homelessness here in LA.
Volunteering at this year’s Greater LA Homeless Count!
Overall, homelessness in the city of LA grew by 1.7% overall, with a 1% decrease in unsheltered homelessness (unsheltered means that you are on the street, often in tents or in vehicles). After years of double-digit growth in homelessness and two-plus years of a pandemic, the fact that homelessness in LA has stayed mostly flat since 2020 is itself significant news — something we should be analyzing closely.
My biggest takeaway: Homelessness in LA is as urgent a crisis as it ever was— our numbers are still way too high, and we have a lot of work ahead. But efforts to keep people housed and bring more people indoors during the pandemic had an enormous impact on slowing the growth from previous years. We must build on these successful efforts as we move forward.
Two things happened during the pandemic that experts said likely have played a role in significantly slowing the growth of homelessness.
Firstly, the city, state, and federal government invested heavily in supporting renters. City of Los Angeles renters and landlords received nearly $2 billion in rental assistance through programs designed to stabilize households during the pandemic. A network of lawyers provided free eviction defense support through the Stay Housed LA program. And finally, a moratorium on evictions for renters who could not pay their rent because of COVID-related job loss and a freeze on rent increases in rent stabilized units likely contributed to keeping people in their homes.
Secondly, we made unprecedented investments in increasing the amount of housing available for people experiencing homelessness, especially in opening up more hotel and motel rooms available for people to move off the streets through Project Roomkey and Project Homekey. The City also opened up more units of permanent supportive housing, as HHH units finally started coming online, and more investments in things like tiny home communities.
We have always known that homes end homelessness. Los Angeles has long under-invested in shelter and housing relative to its homeless population, especially in comparison to cities like New York and Houston that have much smaller populations of unsheltered homelessness, and have even seen declines in their total homeless population. And for the first time, we are starting to make investments that are seeing results, slow as they are.
To me, the path ahead is clear: do more of what we know works. As we ease out of pandemic related renter protections, we must create a better and more robust system of renter protections, like universal just cause protections, better tracking of evictions, and a funded system of legal support to help renters stay housed. We must also continue to expand our still woefully inadequate shelter and housing system. Houston, which has reduced homelessness significantly in recent years, has three times the number of housing units as people experiencing homelessness. That’s what we should be aspiring to here in LA as well.
In our district, we have hopeful news as well. Our district had seen increases in street homelessness over the years — a growth of 64% from 2016 to 2020— but this year, unsheltered homelessness in our district went down by 7%. In fact, we saw street homelessness go down, even when the number of people experiencing homeless overall went up by 12%. That’s largely because we added hundreds of shelter beds in CD4 since 2020, and saw a corresponding growth in our sheltered population – by 163%!
If LA lets the resources it expanded over the last two years disappear, we’ll almost certainly see homelessness spike again. If LA allows renters to face a punishing market without support, homelessness will spike again. We don’t need to let that happen. The results of the most recent count show actual progress. We can do even better. But we have to do more of what worked.
*Our district boundaries changed via redistricting right around when the 2022 count took place, so all of the figures noted here apply to the old district boundaries, not the new one. See a map of our district at bit.ly/cd4field.
LA is a city of renters: nearly 63% of our housing stock is renter-occupied! If you rent your home, we know it can be confusing to know what you’re protected against — but we’re here to help.
It’s important to know that if you rent your home in the City of Los Angeles, you have rights and protections against certain rent increases, evictions, and more.
Visit bit.ly/CD4renterrights — we have all the information you need to determine which protections apply to you, what you can expect in the months ahead, and all the resources you have available to you.
You’re not alone, help is available, and we will continue to keep you informed about the latest updates. For any additional questions, issues, or concerns, make sure to reach out to our office.
SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE LATEST PROPOSALS IN THE GRIFFITH PARK SAFETY & MOBILITY STUDY | MORE INFO
In June, our office partnered with the Department of Recreation and Parks and consulting firm Kimley-Horn to launch a Griffith Park Safety & Mobility Improvements Feasibility Study to identify and propose short, medium, and long term improvements to make Griffith Park a safer and more enjoyable place for all.
This ongoing study helped identify our closure of a ⅔ mile stretch of Griffith Park Drive— but this was just the first step in a series of the Study’s proposed improvements. Last week, we hosted an open house to present the latest of these proposals, which are now available to view HERE.
We want to hear from you about what options presented in the study you prefer, to ensure Griffith Park is reflective of all input and needs. Submit your feedback with our form HERE!
NEW OMICRON-RESISTANT COVID BOOSTERS NOW AVAILABLE | MORE INFO
Protect yourself against old covid and new Omicron strains with the latest COVID booster, now available for FREE in LA County! Options for residents ages 12 and up are available, and should be received two months after the primary vaccination series OR last booster. For more about the new bivalent booster, vaccination locations, and more, click HERE.
PUBLIC COMMENT NOW OPEN ON METRO’S TRANSPORTATION COMMUNICATION NETWORK | MORE INFO
Metro is acting as lead agency on the Transportation Communication Network (TCN) — a program to create a network of digital display structures with intelligent technology, removing approximately 200 static displays from Metro-owned property within the City of Los Angeles.
The program’s Draft Environmental Impact Report is now available for review and response! The deadline to submit written comment is October 24.
Metro will also host two virtual public meetings regarding the Draft EIR will be held on October 6 from 6 to 7 PM. and October 7 from 1 to 2 PM. To access both meetings, utilize the Zoom link HERE.
SPECIAL THANK YOU TO THE VALLEY OF CHANGE AND NOHO HOME ALLIANCE FOR KEEPING OUR NEIGHBORS HEALTHY IN THE HEAT
With record-breaking temperatures earlier this month, keeping all residents hydrated and healthy in the heat is critical — and takes a village! Thank you to all who helped to look out for their neighbors by donating or distributing cold water, especially our friends at the Valley of Change and NoHo Home Alliance, who helped to field donations, coordinate volunteers, and deliver thousands of water bottles at locations throughout District 4.
Learn about how you can get involved with these organizations:
MAKE AN IMPACT BY JOINING YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD COUNCIL! BOARD SEATS OPEN FOR APPLICATION
Hollywood United Neighborhood Council (HUNC): HUNC is dedicated to helping the community achieve its goals through information, engagement and empowerment — help be a part of this mission by applying to an open board seat, including Geographical Area and Business & Renter Representative Seats! Click HERE to learn more about which seats are open and how to apply.
Studio City Neighborhood Council: Help represent the Studio City community’s youth or business interests in Studio City by applying to the open Youth Member and Business Representative Board positions! To apply, email email@example.com with a statement of interest. Learn more about the Studio City Neighborhood Council HERE.
HELP PROTECT AND SUPPORT WILDLIFE WITH THE LA BIOBLITZ CHALLENGE | MORE INFO
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