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Nithya Raman, LA’s New City Councilmember, Breathes Fresh Air Into Homelessness Efforts

Nithya Raman attends Hollywood's Change Makers on March 12, 2019 in Los Angeles. (Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Marie Claire)
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Nithya Raman hit the ground running as the new city councilmember for L.A.'s 4th district. Right after she was sworn in last week, she announced two motions that addressed her campaign’s biggest issue: homelessness.

The first asks city officials to identify sites in her district that could be used as “drop-in” centers for people experiencing homelessness.

“This idea of having a place where people are welcomed and where they can talk to folks who can help them, I think that is a really, really important tool in moving us further along in addressing this crisis,” she told KPCC’s Take Two on Monday.

The sites could look like free-standing, permanent structures. “Or it could be the lobby of a church that's not being used every day,” Raman said.

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The councilmember also asked for a report on the function of the L.A. Homeless Services Authority, which coordinates homeless efforts in L.A. city and county. She wants to focus in particular on how the agency conducts outreach to people on the streets.

“[Outreach was] happening often in the presence of armed law enforcement,” Raman said. “These were not interactions that were designed to create relationships of trust [among] people who are experiencing homelessness.”

Raman is one of the three new icouncilmembers who campaigned on a platform of addressing homelessness.

Listen to Nithya Raman’s full interview with A Martinez on Take Two here: