Los Angeles City Council voted in favor of anti-homelessness ordinance that would impact roughly 40,000 unhoused Angelenos

california homelessness los angeles
Echo Park Lake Thursday, March 25, 2021 in los Angeles, CA.

  • The LA City Council passed an ordinance that would prohibit homeless encampments in some areas of the city.
  • The measure restricts “sitting, lying, or sleeping or storing, using, maintaining, or placing personal property in the public right-of-way.”
  • The measure passed Wednesday in a 13-2 vote, but LA Mayor Garcetti still has the power to veto it.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The Los Angeles City Council voted on Wednesday in favor of an ordinance that would prohibit homeless encampments in some areas of the city.

The measure, which would replace a similar version known as Municipal Code 41.18, was co-authored by city council members Paul Krekorian and Mark Ridley-Thomas. It would prohibit “sitting, lying, or sleeping or storing, using, maintaining, or placing personal property in the public right-of-way.”

There are approximately 40,000 unhoused Angelenos who would be impacted by the ordinance, according to the Associated Press.

Members of the LA City Council first voted on the measure on July 1, approving it in a 13-2 vote. However, a second vote was required because it did not pass unanimously the first time around.

The second vote also had 13 in favor and two against. Councilmembers Nithya Raman and Mike Bonin both voted against the ordinance in the meeting.

Raman posted a thread on Twitter detailing her concerns, saying that “real solutions – housing, outreach, and services – take time and money.”

“None of it is easy to do,” the councilwoman wrote. “But that’s exactly what we *need* to be doing, not enacting harmful and illusory ‘quick fixes.'”

During the meeting, Bonin said pointed to contrasts between “housing” and “sheltering.”

“We need a right to housing, not a mandate to shelter,” Bonin said. “People want housing. They don’t want warehousing, they don’t want shelter, they want housing.”

Earlier this month, Krekorian, one of the councilmembers who proposed the ordinance, defended the ordinance to Spectrum News, saying it “does not make homelessness illegal,” “criminalize homelessness,” nor does it “make any conduct that is fundamental to being human illegal”

“What it does do is it guarantees that we will reestablish passable sidewalks,” Krekorian said on July 1. “It protects the users of our public infrastructure and the unhoused residents of our city from being put into positions of interaction with automobiles, around loading docks, driveways, and so forth. It guarantees access to our fire hydrants, entrances to buildings.”

Some Los Angeles residents, however, find the ordinance to be unjust. Knock LA, an independent journalism platform, captured a few of those disapproving statements while covering the city council meeting.

“You’re creating a problem because you’re going to be arresting a lot more homeless people,” a resident told Spectrum News at the Right to Rest Without Arrest Rally, which took place outside of Los Angeles City Hall prior to the Wednesday meeting.

“The idea is they’re trying to keep the homeless people moving all the time,” the resident continued. “That’s impossible. They get tired. They’re carrying their stuff. They need places to live and stay, and they don’t have it.”

The ordinance is not law, yet. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti still has the authority to veto the measure. Representatives for Garcetti did not immediately return Insider’s request for comment.

Watch the meeting here:

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California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill dedicating a record $12 billion to homelessness

Gavin Newsom
In this Feb. 16, 2021, file photo, California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during a news conference on the campus of the California State University of Los Angeles in Los Angeles

  • California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill allocating a $12 billion budget to combat homelessness.
  • This is a part of Newsom’s “California Comeback Plan,” which will also focus on affordable housing.
  • “We can end homelessness in the state of California,” Newsom said.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill into law Monday dedicating $12 billion towards combating homelessness in the state.

The new legislation is the largest investment in the state’s history in confronting the homelessness crisis, topping last year’s amount of $950 million, Newsom said during a Monday press conference.

The “California Comeback Plan,” which will also focus on affordable housing, will come with “more transparency and more accountability,” Newsom said. He added that the funds will provide crucial support for the state population that are “getting on their feet.”

Previously, solving the homelessness crisis has been left up to cities and counties – not the state. Newsom said he will also be holding cities and counties accountable. Project Roomkey, a homelessness relief initiative, provided shelter for 42,000 homeless Californians during the pandemic.

The US Department of Housing and Urban Development estimated that there were 161,548 people experiencing homelessness in California as of January 2020.

“We can end homelessness in the state of California,” Newsom said. “We don’t think that, we know that.”

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HUD urges Congress to pass Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus to help struggling homeowners

GettyImages apartment buildings
Banners against renters eviction reading “no job, no rent” is displayed on a controlled rent building in Washington, DC on August 9.

  • HUD is urging Congress to pass the American Rescue Plan to provide further aid to the housing market.
  • The $1.9 trillion stimulus has measures for emergency rental assistance and homeless relief, among others.
  • A HUD official says further extending eviction and foreclosure bans isn’t in the bill, but is on Biden’s radar.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

As passage of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus approaches, the federal agency that is focused on housing is urging Congress to pass its measures for struggling homeowners.

The US Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, expressed support on Thursday for the package’s funding for emergency rental assistance and homelessness prevention, among other things.

As one of his first executive orders, Biden extended the moratorium on evictions to help struggling renters, and more recently, he extended the moratorium on home foreclosures to provide homeowner relief.

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, one in five renters is behind on rent, and over 10 million Americans have fallen behind on mortgage payments since COVID-19 began.

While the expansion of foreclosure and forbearance programs were necessary for homeowners and renters, a fact sheet from HUD provided to Insider said, the housing provisions in Biden’s American Rescue Plan need to be passed to provide further financial aid.

“To bolster these efforts, it is critical that Congress pass the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 to deliver more aid to people struggling to pay their rent or mortgage,” the fact sheet said. “The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 includes a number of provisions to provide immediate and direct relief to help people across America remain stably housed during the pandemic.”

The stimulus may be necessary relief as eviction moratoriums are increasingly being challenged in court. On Thursday, a Texas judge blocked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s eviction moratorium, saying in a statement that the federal government “cannot say that it has ever before invoked its power over interstate commerce to impose a residential eviction moratorium.” 

With regards to a further extension on the moratorium on evictions and foreclosures, a HUD administration official said in a press call on Thursday that an extension is not included in the bill itself, but that further extensions are still under consideration and would be driven by public health considerations. (This official did not comment on the ruling out of Texas.)

Per the HUD fact sheet, housing aid in Biden’s stimulus plan includes:

  • More than $20 billion in emergency rental assistance;
  • $5 billion for emergency housing vouchers for those experiencing homelessness;
  • $100 million in emergency assistance for rural housing;
  • $750 million in housing assistance for Native Americans and Native Hawaiians;
  • $100 million for grants to housing counseling providers;
  • $5 billion for homelessness assistance and supportive services programs;
  • $10 billion for homeowners behind on mortgage payments and to avoid foreclosures and evictions;
  • $39 million for very low-income borrowers to purchase and repair housing in rural areas;
  • And $20 million for fair housing programs.

The $900 billion stimulus package that Congress passed in December included $25 billion for rental assistance, but a White House fact sheet says American families still owe $25 billion in back rent and require further aid.

“Failing to take additional action will lead to a wave of evictions and foreclosures in the coming months, overwhelming emergency shelter capacity and increasing the likelihood of COVID-19 infections,” the White House fact sheet said. “And Americans of color, who have on average a fraction of the wealth available to white families, face higher risks of eviction and housing loss without critical assistance.”

The House is expected to vote on the American Rescue Plan on Friday, and it will then go to the Senate, where it will likely receive zero Republican votes. 

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A Washington company is creating $5,000 prefab tiny homes that can be setup in 30 minutes to help solve the homelessness crisis – see how it works

pallet shelters tiny home homeless
The Shelter 64.

  • Pallet is building tiny homes for people who have lost their homes due to natural and personal disasters.
  • Like other tiny home makers, Pallet saw an uptick in popularity last year.
  • The tiny homes can be installed close to each other to create a community of Pallet units.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Expensive tiny homes have been in high demand since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. But on the opposite end of the spectrum, a tiny home maker specializing in personal units for the homeless has also seen a surge in interest.

Pallet, a social purpose company, creates shelters for people facing homelessness as a result of natural and personal disasters. These personal tiny homes can be set up in multiples to create small communities, allowing occupants to have safety and privacy away from larger community shelter buildings.

“What we felt was really missing from the housing spectrum was a dignified shelter option that honored their individuality and allowed them to have autonomy in their rehabilitation process,” Amy King, founder and CEO of Pallet, told Insider. 

Read more: How a formerly homeless sneakerhead with just $40 to his name built a multi-million dollar resale empire in 6 years

The company’s main customer base is municipalities, although it’s received orders from nonprofits, religious organizations, and people who own plots of land.

According to King, while the tiny home community concept has been present for some time now, it’s definitely become more of a trend as of late. 

Like other tiny home makers, Pallet first started seeing an uptick in interest in March 2020. However, when early October hit, municipalities started realizing they would need individual shelters for people without homes during COVID-19-plagued wintertime.

This realization then created a second wave of Pallet interest in the same year.

The units were initially designed to serve as shelters for people who had lost their homes due to natural disasters, such as fires.

pallet shelters tiny home homeless
Pallet shelters in Santa Cruz, California.

However, the company started opening its scope of potential occupants when homelessness began reaching a similar “disaster emergency level,” according to King.

pallet shelters tiny home homeless
Pallet shelters in Fresno, California.

Despite the potential to capitalize off of the tiny home boom, Pallet currently does not sell any of its units to one-off costumers looking for a backyard tiny home.

pallet shelters tiny home homeless
Pallet shelters in Santa Cruz, California.

“Right now, we are heavily focused on the humanitarian crisis in front of us,” King said. “We will not stop until homelessness has ended in this country, so that’s where we’re focusing our attention for the time being.”

pallet shelters tiny home homeless
The Shelter 64.

Last year, Pallet built over 1,500 new beds across the US. There are now Pallets in states like California, Minnesota, Texas, and Hawaii.

pallet shelters tiny home homeless
The Pallet 100.

Source: Pallet

It took Pallet five or six different iterations before it settled on this final design.

pallet shelters tiny home homeless
Pallet shelters in Multnomah County.

Pallet offers two shelter sizes: the 64-square-foot Pallet 64, and the 100-square-foot Pallet 100. Prices start at $4,900 and $7,000, respectively.

pallet shelters tiny home homeless
Pallet shelters in Fresno, California.

The sleeping cabins consist of an aluminum frame and fiber-reinforced plastic composite walls.

pallet shelters tiny home homeless
The Pallet factory.

These walls are insulated, but the home also comes with a heater and an air conditioner.

pallet shelters tiny home homeless
The Pallet 100.

Like any home, the shelters are equipped with safety elements like a lockable door, a smoke detector, and a carbon monoxide monitor.

pallet shelters tiny home homeless
Pallet shelters in Santa Cruz, California.

The shelters can accommodate up to four beds with a folding bunk bed system, although the beds can optionally be replaced with desks.

pallet shelters tiny home homeless
The Pallet 100.

In terms of storage, the tiny home has shelves and room for under-bed storage.

pallet shelters tiny home homeless
The Shelter 64.

The structure can withstand up to 100 mile-per-hour winds and manage up to 25 pounds per square-foot of snow.

pallet shelters tiny home homeless
Pallet shelters in Multnomah County.

If that’s not enough, Pallet also has an “extreme weather” version originally developed for a Hood River, Oregon location.

pallet shelters tiny home homeless
Pallet shelters in Multnomah County.

However, none of the homes have bathrooms. This was intentional: the company wants its units to serve as “temporary stabilizing shelters” while its occupants wait for a more permanent option.

pallet shelters tiny home homeless
Pallet shelters in Multnomah County.

Also, plumbing is expensive and more difficult to maintain, which would have driven the tiny home’s price up.

pallet shelters tiny home homeless
Pallet shelters in Santa Cruz, California.

With that being said, Pallet is currently prototyping a bathroom and has previously trialed a community room. Looking forward, Pallet might test a kitchen facility as well.

pallet shelters tiny home homeless
Pallet shelters in Multnomah County.

The units have a lifespan of more than 10 years, but many people only reside in these tiny homes for months at a time.

pallet shelters tiny home homeless
The Shelter 64.

The units are also easy to clean and sanitize in between occupants, which is key given the homelessness emergency during the COVID-19 pandemic.

pallet shelters tiny home homeless
The Pallet 100.

Unlike permanent “congregate” shelter options that could take years to build, Pallet’s prefabricated tiny homes can be setup in under 30 minutes, and a full village can be created within 10 days.

pallet shelters tiny home homeless
Pallet shelters in Multnomah County.

This allows Pallet to quickly and inexpensively address the homelessness crisis in the US.

pallet shelters tiny home homeless
The Shelter 64.

While Pallet specializes in making individual shelters, the company recognizes the need for community shelters as well.

pallet shelters tiny home homeless
Pallet shelters in Santa Cruz, California.

“Unfortunately, the homelessness crisis in this country has escalated to a point that we need all products,” King said. “Each person needs something different, and we need to have a diversified opportunity for people to get their needs met.”

pallet shelters tiny home homeless
Pallet shelters in Multnomah County.

Homelessness isn’t the only issue Pallet is tackling.

pallet shelters tiny home homeless
Pallet shelters in Santa Cruz, California.

The Washington-based company’s “social purpose” title means it serves as a combination between a for-profit and a non-profit organization.

pallet shelters tiny home homeless
The Pallet 100.

As a result, profits made are put back into the company’s two main missions: stopping “unsheltered homelessness,” and creating a “nontraditional workforce.”

pallet shelters tiny home homeless
The Pallet 100.

To the latter point, 90% of Pallet’s employees have once faced addiction, incarceration, or homelessness.

pallet shelters tiny home homeless
The Pallet factory.

Pallet offers these employees workforce and “life skills” training, which includes teaching them how to start a bank account or get an ID.

pallet shelters tiny home homeless
Pallet shelters in Santa Cruz, California.

Source: Pallet

“If we didn’t have them, I don’t think we’d be nearly [as successful],” King said. “They’re not just workers for us, they’re helping lead the concept here.”

pallet shelters tiny home homeless
The Pallet factory.

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