having a Heart for the Homeless.
Solving the homeless issue in Los Angeles.
My heart is broken every day by the plight of the homeless in our city and that’s why we have made finding a loving solution to this terrible epidemic the primary focus of our platform.
In LA County we have close to 50,000 homeless. In the City of Los Angeles, there are over 28,000 homeless, with over 10,000 living in Downtown LA. Of that total, over 6,000 are veterans.
We have come to see homelessness as an inevitable part of our urban experience, what’s worse, we have come to accept it.
The actions taken by local government are a start but don’t go far enough or act quickly enough – take the recently passed Proposition HHH, which aims to fund a 1.2 Billion dollar bond that will create 7,000 to 10,000 homes over the next 10 years. What about the other 40,000 plus homeless living in LA county who need homes now, not in three to ten years.
So where do we start? I believe the first step towards finding a real solution to homelessness is to realize that it is within our power to solve.
We start by seeing and acknowledging the homeless, by not ignoring the suffering of our brothers and sisters. We remind ourselves that with a simple twist of fate, any of us could find ourselves in their place.
We reframe homelessness by giving it a face, making it about individuals that we can take steps to help rather than treating it as a huge, abstract and insurmountable problem.
And we respond to homelessness with a variety of housing and services programs, including emergency shelters and transitional housing. We hold close the tenant that no man, woman or child will be left behind. This pertains especially to the chronic homeless, people who have been on the street for more than a year, with whom we will take a “Housing First” approach.
“Housing First” is a simple philosophy, which believes that in order to effectively treat the causes of homelessness we must first get people off of the streets. Once in homes we can triage the issues they face, from mental illness and substance abuse to domestic violence. This method not only saves the city money by reducing the huge amount of municipal services used by the homeless, who fill our ER’s, shelters and jails, but has been proven to work in places like Utah which used this method to effectively end homelessness in their state.
The overall approach has to be one in which we create a holistic system that doesn’t just treat the symptoms of homelessness but seeks to affect the roots of the problem from a mind, body and spirit perspective. And we have to acknowledge that there are people in our city that just need our help and our love.
Building More Homes By Building With Love
Affordable Housing Los Angeles
Cities are eco systems; one problem creates another just as one solution creates another. We can’t address a permanent solution to homelessness without also doing something to stem the skyrocketing cost of living and the housing shortage in Los Angeles that puts many Angelenos in jeopardy of losing their homes.
UCLA recently released an alarming study that found that many L.A. County residents are fearful of potentially losing their homes and becoming homeless, because they can’t afford to pay for basic costs of living like food and housing. The bottom line; housing is difficult to obtain and maintain for a large swath of the public due to a lack of affordable housing units combined with insufficient and stagnant incomes.
Since 2014 the average monthly rent has risen by 55% while the medium income level has ticked up only 13%. According to experts, on average a person living in LA needs to earn at least $33 an hour, or $68,640 a year, to be able to afford an apartment in Los Angeles County. Since most L.A. residents earn much less than this, they end up spending an average of 47 percent of their income on rent – the highest percentage in the nation.
Even with the minimum wage being expanded to $15 by 2020, most of our citizens are earning less than half what they need to be able to subsist in our city.
The only solution is to create more affordable homes, more quickly. But in order to keep the supply on par with the demand we have to be adding roughly 100,000 homes to the market every year. This is simply not possible unless we can reduce the regulations that restrict building new homes and apartments and pass regulations that favor low income housing development over big budget building projects and developers.
We also need to embrace new building techniques, new methods of construction and new technologies. One possible solution is 3D printing which uses cheaper, often recycled materials and cutting edge designs that require far less raw materials. China has been using prototypes to build high quality homes in staggeringly short periods of time, recently printing ten homes in 24 hours, for $5,000 each. Not ony does this building method cut material and labor costs, It also reduces waste and carbon emissions.
Heart first politics require us to be open to any and all ideas that can provide real solutions!
Loving Ways To Reduce Traffic
Traffic in Los Angeles
L.A. officially has the worst traffic in the country, with drivers spending an average of 81 hours a year sitting in their cars stalled on our freeways and roads. The only way that we can reduce this is by improving efficiencies and figuring out how to remove drivers from the road.
I want L.A. to be one of the first cities in the US to push towards embracing and adopting automated car technology and modifying our infrastructure to support it. By all accounts self-driving cars will reduce congestion because they are safer (human error accounts for 90% of all traffic accidents) and can travel faster. With less space needed between cars, “highway lanes can be narrower because vehicles won’t need as much margin for error.”
In the slightly more distant future, we will move away from private ownership of cars altogether and instead rely on commercial fleets of automated cars to service multiple people at one time. When this happens we will be able to greatly reduce the city space used for parking lots and garages, space which can be given over to helping solve our housing issues.
But it’s not enough to rely on more efficient technologies, we also have to figure out ways to incentivize drivers to remove their vehicles from the roads. This means creating public transportation that is more appealing to drivers than their own cars. The easiest way to incentivize drivers is to save them time.
Our current public transportation system is quite limited, though it’s getting better with additions like the Metro’s Expo line from DTLA to Santa Monica. But as good as the Expo line is it still often takes longer to take this train than to drive to your destination.
But what if there was an option that took you half the time without traffic and a quarter of the time during peak travel hours? Technologies like the Hyperloop could make this a possibility in the very near future. The Hyperloop can build routes on top of existing infrastructure that could shuttle people between major travel hubs i.e. Burbank Airport to LAX (in roughly 8 minutes) and could build the infrastructure required to do this in a fraction of the time (roughly 4 years) it takes to build equivalent public transportation systems with our current methods.
Another program to reduce traffic is a voluntary program with tax incentives to persuade major employers to stagger work start and finish times during the week thus reducing the typical 9 to 5 rush hours back-ups.