Los Angeles, California, USA – Eric Garcetti, the mayor of Los Angeles, wrote a letter to US President Donald Trump requesting help in dealing with the mounting problem of homelessness, as the number of people spending the night on the streets in the city continues to rise.
In the letter, made public on January 9, the head of Los Angeles asked for federal aid in order to provide services to rough sleepers, “move unhoused neighbors into shelters and build permanent housing”, Sputnik reported. The 48-year-old also said he had held negotiations on the issue with Housing Secretary Ben Carson and praised his colleague for reaching out to him.
“During our conversation, he expressed a commitment to working with cities nationwide to help accelerate our progress in addressing this emergency by investing in strong, humane and lasting approaches that can help get people off the street and save lives,” Garcetti said.
The development represents a change in the administration’s relationship with California’s and LA’s authorities. During his visits, Trump has chastised officials for the growing homelessness crisis, while Carson rejected California’s request for funding to be increased in order to cope with the problem.
Earlier this week, the housing secretary said that US authorities need to alleviate the suffering of rough sleepers while announcing that he had held negotiations with Mayor Garcetti and Kathryn Barger, chairwoman of the Los Angeles County Supervisor’s Office, in posts on Twitter.
The Trump administration is now working to solve the homelessness crisis in Los Angeles and other cities in California. On January 9, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced plans to create a $750 million fund that will help provide services to the homeless.
After New York, Los Angeles is the US city with the highest number of homeless people, but what makes the city stand apart is the number of homeless people not living in emergency shelters. Most of the rough sleepers in the city spend most of their day and sleep in the streets.
According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, 130,000 people are homeless on any given day in California and the overall number of rough sleepers in LA stands at almost 50,000. The causes of the problem are the same as everywhere else – unaffordable housing and low wages.
Half of the homeless people in Los Angeles say that they found themselves in the streets because they lost their jobs and couldn’t afford to pay rent. According to the BBC, almost 800,000 people in Los Angeles spend more than 90 percent of their income on rent.