Image source: LA Mayor Garcetti's Office Twitter
On Tuesday, September 22, seven Los Angeles City Council members and Mayor Eric Garcetti held a press conference to announce that they are declaring a "state of emergency" on homelessness in Los Angeles and committing $100 million to housing, supportive services, and homelessness prevention (read the full story in the LA Times).
This announcement comes as we have experienced (as seen in the most recent Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count) a startling 12% increase in homelessness in LA County in the past three years. We also know that LA has the most unaffordable housing market in the country, with an estimated shortfall of 500,000 affordable units.
At the Downtown Women's Center, we recognize that for the 4000 women we serve annually, homelessness truly is a state of emergency, brought on by devastating life circumstances. The Downtown Women's Action Coalition's 2013 Needs Assessment showed that more than two-thirds of the women surveyed had experienced child abuse, domestic violence, or sexual assault. What's more, over 42% of women surveyed defined their current mental and/or physical health as "fair" or "poor," and almost a third of women reported having spent five or more years on the street.
These realities are alarming, and should be addressed with the utmost urgency.
As such, we are glad to see these concerted steps from our elected officials, and we look forward to working with our local leaders and continuing to be part of the solution to not only reduce but truly end homelessness.
We will be sharing more about how you can continue advocating for women affected by homelessness. Sign-up for our newsletter to stay informed.