"LOS ANGELES — Facing a deepening quagmire over homeless encampments, Los Angeles elected officials are increasingly looking to sweeping statewide initiatives to shake loose solutions.
The latest proposal from Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and City Councilman Joe Buscaino would have the governor declare a state of emergency on homelessness in California.
Supporters view such a declaration as a novel strategy to free up state and federal funding typically reserved for natural disasters, such as earthquakes or wildfires, and to suspend or streamline the regulatory hurdles that often slow down shelter and housing development.
It also could block NIMBY opponents from using environmental reviews to sue and delay or block homeless facilities from opening.
Many in L.A. have been frustrated by the sluggish pace of construction of new shelters and housing for the estimated 44,000 residents in the county, including 27,000 in the city, who live outdoors in tents, cars or lean-tos, as opposed to shelters or other temporary housing.
Only 477 emergency shelter beds have been added in the last 2 1/2 years for households without children, which form the bulk of the homeless population, according to an inventory released in September."
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