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Housing and Homelessness

LA Mayor Bass Releases New ‘Inside Safe’ Plan to Combat Homelessness

A homeless woman in a blue hat bends over to gather together piles of her belongings, including a large suitcase and a plastic bag.
A homeless woman packs her belongings at a homeless encampment in Echo Park.
(Frederic J. Brown
AFP via Getty Images)
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L.A. Mayor Karen Bass issued her second executive directive to address the homelessness crisis on Wednesday, ordering her staff to “create a strategy of large-scale citywide coordination.”

The Overview

Bass's "Inside Safe Initiative" will determine “the highest need encampments across the city, especially focusing on encampments that are chronic and have a high demand for services.”

“Today we take a great step forward,” Bass said, adding her plan is designed “to bring people inside from tents and encampments for good.”

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Some Details

The plan calls for city staff to:

  • Identify interim housing for each person in encampments
  • Identify permanent housing resources for each person in encampments
  • Create a unit acquisition strategy, including master leasing for both interim and permanent housing options
  • Centralize data collection on all relevant matters, including but not limited to encampments, needs surveys, housing availability, housing placements and retention, and designate a lead team to track progress

What’s Next

Bass has created a cabinet of department heads dealing with homelessness led by Chief of Housing and Homeless Solutions Mercedes Marquez and asked for a report back on how to move forward by Mar. 31, 2023.

The cabinet will include representatives from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority; the Chief Administrative Officer; and seven city departments, including housing, transportation and sanitation. The directive orders members to work with county officials, METRO, and other agencies to coordinate efforts.

“The mayor has been very clear that we need to move people swiftly,” said Marquez.

All of this is still in the works. 

“It's gonna take us a minute to ramp up,” she said. “I think this is Day Nine —no —Day 10 of being mayor,” Bass told reporters gathered at The People Concern, a homeless services organization west of downtown.

“I think at a very high level, it's very specific as to what city departments are to be involved in crafting the plan,” said Gary Painter, who directs USC’s Homelessness Policy Research Institute. “In some ways, this is the announcing of a plan to be crafted.”

Painter added: ”How can one not be optimistic today with the new mayor? Let's let this play out and hopefully those actions will have the fruit that we hope they will.”

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“The 'Inside Safe' directive specifically calls out what it will take to bring the thousands of people who live unsheltered indoors,” said Va Lecia Adams Kellum of St. Joseph Center.

Go Deeper

The mayor has declared a state of emergency on homelessness, ordered the city to speed up approval of affordable housing, and won a pledge of support from the county Board of Supervisors for her efforts. Here is a look at local reaction to President Biden’s plan to reduce the number of unhoused people 25% by 2025.

As L.A. Mayor Karen Bass begins her term, tell us what issues feel most urgent to you.

Updated December 21, 2022 at 4:51 PM PST
This story was updated with additional details about the plan and reaction from advocates.