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Los Angeles mayor celebrates $250 million homeless program as homelessness shrinks for first time in six years

As the Supreme Court makes it easier to restrict homeless encampments, Los Angeles celebrated the first decline in its homeless population in years.  Data released Friday show homelessness dropped on two levels in the past six years. Overall, homelessness decreased by 2.2%. That number accounts for people who have found emergency lodging or are sheltering […]

As the Supreme Court makes it easier to restrict homeless encampments, Los Angeles celebrated the first decline in its homeless population in years. 

Data released Friday show homelessness dropped on two levels in the past six years. Overall, homelessness decreased by 2.2%. That number accounts for people who have found emergency lodging or are sheltering with relatives, friends, or housing providers. According to the report, the number of people sleeping in cars, streets, and tents decreased by 10.4%. 

The report follows Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass’s “Inside Safe” initiative, a homelessness reduction program the Democrat leader started in 2022. The effort was a push to reduce homeless encampments by transferring individuals to hotels. Reports indicate the taxpayer-funded program costs $17,009 per person per month. In April, Bass asked Los Angeles to allocate $185 million to Inside Safe in the city budget. Her previous budget for the homelessness program was $250 million.


Mayor Karen Bass speaks in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/John McCoy, File)

“For so many years, the count has shown increases in homelessness, and we have all felt that in our neighborhoods. But we leaned into change. And we have changed the trajectory of this crisis and have moved L.A. in a new direction,” Bass said in a statement celebrating the report on Friday.

She continued, “There is nothing we cannot do by taking on the status quo, putting politics aside, and rolling up our sleeves to work together. I want to thank the City Council, the County Board of Supervisors, LAHSA, our state, federal and community partners and our service provider partners for locking arms to confront this crisis with the urgency that it requires. This is not the end, it is the beginning — and we will build on this progress, together.”

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Los Angeles released the data just hours after the Supreme Court released a 3-1 decision siding with an Oregon town’s law that bans homeless people from sleeping outdoors. The court ruled that regulating camping on public property does not constitute “cruel and unusual punishment” prohibited by the Eighth Amendment. 

Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA) celebrated the court’s decision, which gives his state additional power to restrict encampments. The Supreme Court’s ruling struck down a San Francisco court’s decision that said imposing criminal penalties on homeless encampments violated the Constitution.

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More than a third of the nation’s homeless population is in California, where homelessness has risen 53% since 2013. 

While homelessness in Los Angeles appears to have dropped, other California cities continue to see the crisis grow. San Fransisco’s overall homeless population has increased, and Orange County is experiencing a spike in homelessness as well.

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