KTLA | Sareen Habeshian and Christina Pascucci
Mar 1, 2022
As Mayor Eric Garcetti’s nears the end of his time in Los Angeles, he spoke to KTLA Tuesday about the current homelessness situation in the city, advice for his successor and whether he believes the more than billion-dollar bond approved by voters made its intended impact.
While many lament the current state of L.A. streets, with more than 40,000 homeless individuals and encampments spilling into neighborhoods, the mayor says the problem would be even worse without the city’s efforts.
While touring The Pointe on Vermont, an apartment in South L.A. with 25 units of affordable housing and 25 units for the homeless, Garcetti said, “When I started, we were building 300 units like this a year. This year we have 6,000 either under construction, finished or about to break ground.”
He said half the people who live there are homeless and the other half “we’re preventing from becoming homeless.”
Michael Goodwin is one of the residents and says he loves to help others in need, just as he used to be.
“I know how it is because I was homeless for a long time” Goodwin says.
EAH Housing, a nonprofit organization, built Pointe on Vermont and now manages the property. They work with St. Joseph Center, which is a service provider, to keep residents housed.
The organizations helped dozens of people like Goodwin get housing at Pointe on Vermont, which has a garden, gym, and plans to build a music studio and retail space to integrate with the local community.
“He was homeless for 12 years, had been incarcerated with mental health, substance use,” Wendy Perlera of the St. Joseph Center said. “Reintegrating them from mass incarceration into the community is important.”
The complex was built by funds from HHH — the $1.2 billion bond voters approved five years ago with a promise to create 10,000 new apartments for the homeless over a decade.
Last week, the L.A. City Controller criticized how slow and costly progress has been, with one project under development estimated to cost as much as $837,000 per unit.
“My message to my successor is double down, triple down on what we did,” Garcetti said. “We increased it 20-fold but we probably need to double or triple it again.”
While 1,200 HHH units have been completed since 2016, the mayor’s office says there are 12,000 more in construction or in the pipeline.
The mayor also announced that that for the third time, the federal government agreed to extend Project Room Key, which uses hotel rooms to house the homeless. The initiative would have expired next month but will now remain in place until July.