LOS ANGELES (AP) — In a city struggling with rising crime rates and an out-of-control homeless crisis, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Wednesday proposed boosting spending for police and funneling a record amount — more than $1 billion — into housing and other programs to help those those living on the streets.
Garcetti said the spending aimed at homelessness, if approved by City Council, would be about 20 times the amount directed at homelessness when he took office in 2013. The proposal comes at a time when makeshift encampments have spread in virtually every neighborhood.
A key part of the proposal calls for the city to purchase buildings and covert them into residences for homeless people.
The spending plan was outlined in Garcetti’s $11.8 billion budget for the fiscal year that begins in July, which now goes to City Council for review.
Garcetti, a two-term Democrat, also called for boosting spending at the Los Angeles Police Department, including hiring hundreds of officers. The city had 397 homicides last year, the highest tally since 2006.
Garcetti was nominated in July to become President Joe Biden’s ambassador to India. But the Senate vote has been delayed by an investigation into sexual harassment allegations against a former Garcetti top adviser. The mayor has denied witnessing or being told of any inappropriate behavior.
Garcetti’s term at City Hall runs through the end of the year.