L.A. Mayor Karen Bass’ plan for homelessness falls short on safety and sustainable solutions

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass has announced a new plan to tackle the city’s homelessness crisis: the Inside Safe program. The plan aims to provide free housing for homeless individuals, with Bass promising leadership, accountability, and action on her official website.

But is the Inside Safe program the solution to LA’s homelessness crisis? While the idea of providing housing for those in need may seem like a no-brainer, the reality is that there are significant flaws in Bass’s plan. For starters, the plan fails to address the root causes of homelessness, such as a lack of affordable housing and a lack of access to mental health and substance abuse services.

Additionally, the plan ignores the fact that homelessness is a complex and multifaceted problem that requires a comprehensive approach. Simply providing housing, without addressing the underlying issues that led to homelessness in the first place, is unlikely to be effective in the long run.

Under the new mayor’s plan to address the city’s homelessness epidemic, Inside Safe, city outreach teams are moving homeless individuals out of encampments and into temporary housing in these establishments. But hotel and motel owners have raised safety concerns, such as damage to rooms and an increase in crime, and questioned their rights to remove problematic individuals and the city’s liability for their actions.

It appears that the city did not fully consult with hotel and motel owners before implementing this plan, and has not prioritized addressing their concerns. 

While the initiative may provide temporary relief for homeless individuals, the lack of available bedding space remains a significant concern. How can we ensure that Mayor Bass has allocated enough resources to house the vast number of homeless individuals on the streets, especially with a budget limited to $100 million, when the city has already approved an additional $50 million in funding?

Furthermore, the success of this movement is uncertain as some homeless individuals may prefer to remain on the streets. The Rand Center on Housing and Homelessness reports that two thirds of people living on the streets choose to stay there rather than accepting offers of shelter. Without addressing the root causes of homelessness, this initiative may only provide temporary solutions.

While the initiative led by Bass aims to make the city more approachable by removing encampments, it may be more effective to focus on funding programs that address the root causes of homelessness. Instead of solely providing temporary housing solutions, resources should be directed towards drug use prevention, mental health support, and job training programs.

Bass has a track record of helping the city and state, particularly in child welfare. As a national leader and founder of the Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth, she has expanded educational opportunities and provided cash assistance to foster youth during the pandemic. Additionally, she has helped our schools and provided funding for new construction, as well as increased water supply reliability and quality for two-thirds of the state.D

While Mayor Bass’s intentions may be noble, the Inside Safe program is not the long-term solution that LA needs to tackle its complex homelessness crisis. It’s time for our leaders to take a more thoughtful and holistic approach to addressing this pressing issue.