“Our system is just not fundamentally designed to address the crisis that we were in.” Speaking last week in Skid Row at a hearing on a lawsuit seeking relief for unhoused people in Los Angeles, City Councilman Mike Bonin seemingly confirmed what many Angelenos have suspected all along: City Hall is incapable of dealing with what Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti describes as “the moral and humanitarian crisis of our time — homelessness.”
If that is the case and our elected officials are not up to the task of addressing the crisis, what are the alternatives to the status quo? Looking ahead to next year’s election season, Skid Row-based nonprofit Los Angeles Community Action Network will soon begin a non-partisan dialogue and education effort informing Angelenos about where local elected officials stand on homeless issues.
Wanting to get ahead of the political game of musical chairs that define local politics, it will be important to take measure of votes and actions to solve this crisis, or not. Toward that end, the Los Angeles Community Action Network plans to launch a virtual Homelessness Report Card. The assessment will be updated regularly on LA CAN’s website cangress.org, where Angelenos will find voting records on homeless issues, a summary of housing-related motions that have been proposed, what steps are being taken in their respective districts to find housing for those in need, whether they are in compliance with government or court-ordered action steps, a list of their major campaign contributors and a tally showing how much homeless funding the district received and how it was spent.
Implementing the appropriate remedies for homelessness is not complicated; all it takes is political will and imagination. The purpose of the Candidates Report Card on Homelessness is to instill both in those who are seeking our votes.