City Hall

Garcetti says: 'Homelessness is the moral issue of our time'

Watch the entire speech

Mayor Eric Garcetti used his annual state of the city speech on Thursday to boast about some accomplishments and praise Los Angeles, while adding that "we also acknowledge it’s an imperfect paradise." He mentioned traffic, the high cost of rent and home buying, fear of deportation and the usual civic imperfections, but he devoted the most time to the homeless. They — the tent and car people of Los Angeles — are living now in every part of the city, he said.

I remember a time when homelessness was mostly concentrated in Skid Row.

Today, there are people without shelter in just about every neighborhood.

As Mayor, there’s no issue I spend more time on — because I believe that homelessness is the moral issue of our time.

I am outraged when there are Angelenos who can’t escape the cold rain ...

Horrified when someone who has worn our country’s uniform is begging for change on the corner.

I recently talked with a friend who told me her children have grown up seeing the tents in our communities — they think it’s just a normal part of Los Angeles.

And I worry that my 5-year-old daughter won’t know any different either.

We can’t accept that. We won’t.

We have made significant progress:

Since 2014, we’ve helped 24,000 men, women, and children find safe homes — more than 9,000 in the last year alone.

Those are real people … real stories ... real results. But the problem persists. That’s why we wrote Measure HHH.

And thanks to the voters who passed it, we’re going to more than triple our production of
permanent supportive housing in the next two years.

But we can’t just build floors and walls. We have to rebuild lives.

That’s why we fought hard to pass Measure H … so we could generate $355 million dollars a year to expand mental health, substance abuse, and employment services across the County — getting people off the streets, on track, and into homes of their very own.

And this morning, I’m proud to announce that the budget I am presenting to City Council
dedicates more than $176 million dollars to house the unsheltered, connect them with services, and keep our communities safe and clean.

We are not here to address homelessness … or manage homelessness … or reduce
homelessness … we are here to end homelessness once and for all.

Later in the day Garcetti also proposed a $9.2 billion budget that calls on the City Council to tag another fee onto developers to pay for affordable housing programs. City Controller Ron Galperin expressed skepticism, saying "I’m not convinced that the way that you create more housing is by making it more expensive to build…. Los Angeles already is one of the most expensive cities in the country to build anything."

Garcetti did not mention President Trump but vowed that Los Angeles would provide leadership — "be a model of moral leadership and bold action" — in the face of moves by Washington. He also vowed that the LAPD would not turn into a federal immigration enforcement force.


Full text of speech | Proposed budget

How it played:

Los Angeles Times. The lede:

Mayor Eric Garcetti used his State of the City address Thursday to present Los Angeles as a compassionate counterpoint to the policies of President Trump, charting a sharply different path on climate change, immigration and efforts to help those in need.

While the nation is “anxious and divided,” Los Angeles has the opportunity “to be a model of moral leadership and bold action,” Garcetti told the crowd of politicians, labor leaders and business representatives inside the Los Angeles City Council chambers.

Daily News. The lede:

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Thursday declared the state of the city “undeniably strong,” pointing to the overall health of the economy, but he also delved into the challenges facing the city, including externally from Trump administration policies that may affect the city’s immigrants.

Garcetti, speaking after an invocation by a Muslim imam from South Los Angeles, painted Los Angeles flatteringly as a model against what he calls a dysfunctional national government.

KPCC. The lede:

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti today delivered an ambitious, sweeping speech on the state of the city and released a budget proposal that he said addressed homelessness as its number one priority.

The speech, in which he painted himself as a visionary leader poised to tackle major city challenges like crime and transportation, came shortly before the mayor released his budget plan for the next fiscal year.

Associated Press. The lede:

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti proposed a $9.2 billion budget on Thursday, which includes $176 million specifically aimed at combatting the city's growing homeless crisis.

"We are not here to address homelessness, or manage homelessness, or reduce homelessness. We are here to end homelessness once and for all," Garcetti said at his annual state of the city address.

KABC-TV. The lede:

Mayor Eric Garcetti laid out his vision for Los Angeles in his State of the City address at City Hall on Thursday.

Garcetti directly addressed the city's ongoing relationship with the Trump administration over the contentious issue of illegal immigration.

LAist. The lede:

Secure in his recent reelection, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti delivered his annual State of the City address Thursday. The mayor focused this year’s policy points on homelessness, rebuilding the city’s infrastructure, job growth, and affordable housing.

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