Sheriff Villanueva Urges County to Declare ‘State of Emergency’ Against Homelessness
As the number of encampments rise along key tourist destinations such as Venice Beach, Olvera Street and Hollywood, LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva is pushing the LA County Board of Supervisors to declare a state of emergency against the homelessness crisis.
"It is time to declare a state of emergency and to develop a purposeful mission to solve this crisis ….[The] bottom line is that people are tired of being tired about the homeless crisis," said Sheriff Villanueva.
According to correspondence with the County, key commercial and tourist districts are being impacted by the homelessness crisis. In particular, commercial corridors must face increased risk of fires, drug use, sanitation concerns, and crime.
Unless the County moves to secure all available funding, the Sheriff argues that more businesses will be forced to close.
By declaring a state of emergency, the County would be able to access funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which would aid the County's homelessness services programs and the Sheriff's office.
Should the County consider Villanueva's recommendations, the Sheriff's Homelessness Outreach Services Team (HOST) would have the necessary funds and resources to expand their outreach efforts.
Furthermore, in a blog post, the Sheriff also held that the County should consider "removing homeless individuals who refuse to de-occupy public spaces that directly impact residential, commercial, and tourist space and destinations."
This all comes after the City of Los Angeles moved to restrict homelessness encampments on certain public areas, such as parks and schools.
To date, the Board of Supervisors has yet to respond to Sheriff Villanueva's statements.