Los Angeles City Councilmembers Bill Rosendahl and Jan Perry are calling for the formation of a special panel to deal with homelessness in the city.
A former social worker, Rosendahl spoke often about the problem of homelessness during his campaign earlier this year.
Rosendahl wants more services for the homeless and greater protections for neighborhoods that suffer a diminished quality of life because of the impacts of homelessness.
Rosendahl noted that neighborhoods near Venice Beach have a large homeless population.
Rosendahl and Perry submitted a motion calling on the City Council to convene an Ad Hoc Committee on Homelessness.
“It is to our shame and dishonor that we do not focus on this problem as we do a war, as we do a natural disaster, as we do a pressing social and moral crisis,” Rosendahl said. “The scourge of homelessness is all of those things.
“It is now time for the City Council of Los Angeles to focus energy and attention to this problem.”
The motion was referred to the council Rules and Elections Committee.
City Council president Alex Padilla promised to move swiftly to form such a panel.
Rosendahl said he hoped Perry, whose Ninth Council District includes downtown’s Skid Row, would serve as chair.
“Jan Perry has been very proactive in her attempts to help solve the homeless issue in downtown Los Angeles,” Rosendahl said.
In Los Angeles County, there are an estimated 91,000 homeless people — the largest homeless population for a major metropolitan area in the U.S., Rosendahl said.
Of that number, nearly 35,000 are considered chronically homeless. Fewer than 10,000 actually find room in a shelter.
The homeless do not live only on Skid Row; they live on the beach in Venice, on the streets of Hollywood, near MacArthur Park, and on the streets of North Hollywood, Rosendahl said.
“In recent years, various jurisdictions have moved with a sense of focus and bold experimentation in dealing with the various and sundry issues of homelessness,” Rosendahl said. “In San Francisco, Mayor Gavin Newsom has made addressing homelessness a citywide priority.
“In Santa Monica, Councilman Bobby Shriver has led a charge for new solutions to the decades-old problem.
“Here in Los Angeles County, Sheriff Lee Baca has been a tireless voice demanding action and solutions.
“Here in the City of Los Angeles, we need to do more. Much more.”