Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti takes ‘full responsibility’ after homelessness rises 12 percent

FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is highlighting the plans in motion to tackle the city's homelessness crisis, which he described as "perhaps the most complex and difficult civic challenge" in a generation.

Last week, the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority announced that the number of homeless people in Los Angeles County jumped 12 percent over the past year to a total of 58,936.

Youth homelessness rose 24 percent, in part due to improvements in counting the population, and the number of seniors 62 and over rose more than 8 percent, according to the release.

In an open letter to residents Tuesday, Garcetti wrote that the problem needs to be treated like "the humanitarian emergency that it is."

"That starts with me," he said.

More than 100 projects are in the works to help alleviate the problem, Garcetti said, adding that the "first job" is to build housing because "Angelenos are becoming homeless faster than we can provide housing for them."

The homelessness budget has increased to more than $460 million for housing and services, 25 times what it was four years ago, and the city is ahead of its goal to build 100,000 new units of housing, according to the letter.

"As your mayor, I take full responsibility for our response to this crisis," Garcetti said. "And like everyone who has seen families in tents or spoken to a homeless veteran in need, I am both heartbroken and impatient."

Garcetti also called upon the private sector "to do more" amid the city's growing economy.

"If you're a business owner with a parking lot that goes unused at night, I'll ask you to open it up to people who live in their vehicles and need a place to park," he wrote. "If you're an executive for one of L.A.'s many successful startup companies, I'll ask you to hire homeless Angelenos and contribute to our cause. I'll ask more landlords to work with rehousing programs, so that families experiencing homelessness can make it out of shelters and into homes."

A December report from a local pest control company hired by the city shows that the homeless population living near the civic center were creating a "harborage for rodents" in the City Hall due to poor sanitary conditions that include leftover food, human waste and hypodermic needles, according to the Los Angeles Times. The company recommended that the city clear away the homeless people living nearby, the Times reported.

Statewide data shows that California has 129,972 homeless residents, the second-largest in state history after the Great San Francisco Earthquake struck in 1906, which resulted in more than 200,000 people losing their homes overnight, according to the letter.

California Gov. Gavis Newsom has proposed to increase the state's housing and homelessness funding to $1 billion.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Check Also

Parents brawl during youth baseball game after disagreeing with 13-year-old umpire

Parents brawl during youth baseball game after disagreeing with 13-year-old umpirefstop123/iStock(LAKEWOOD, Colo.) -- A baseball game between a group of 7-year-old kids degenerated into an all-out brawl with parents throwing haymakers, other cowering for cover and a woman even jumping on someone's back.

The reason for the brawl: a parent didn't like the calls being made by a 13-year-old umpire.

The fight began at Westgate Elementary School in Lakewood, Colo., a suburb southwest of Denver, on Saturday at about noon as 15 to 20 adults got into a violent tussle, according to Lakewood police.

The brawl was still ongoing as Lakewood police arrived at the scene.

These adults took over the field and began assaulting each other on 6/15 during a youth baseball game. We're looking for any info, in particular to ID the man in the white shirt/teal shorts. Several people have already been cited in this fight and injuries were reported. pic.twitter.com/ieenhwCrbU

— Lakewood Police (@LakewoodPDCO) June 18, 2019

Police issued four citations for disorderly conduct, but said they are still searching for others involved in the fight.

Police are looking for an adult in a white T-shirt and teal shorts in particular because he can be seen in the video throwing sucker punches at people looking in the other direction. Police said it is unknown if this person is a parent of one of the children in the game.

There were a few minor injuries and one person suffered serious bodily injury, police told ABC News. No details on the injury were available.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.