Los Angeles mayor to declare homeless state of emergency

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass said over 40,000 people are homeless in the City of Angels

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass, who was sworn into office on Sunday afternoon, announced her first action in the role on Monday morning will be to declare a state of emergency on homelessness.

The newly appointed mayor said there are over 40,000 homeless people in the City of Angels, and the declaration will recognize the issue of homelessness as a crisis.

Los Angeles mayoral candidate Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., speaks at an election night party in Los Angeles on Nov. 8.

Los Angeles mayoral candidate Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., speaks at an election night party in Los Angeles on Nov. 8. (AP/Jae C. Hong)

"Los Angeles has called me to serve at an inflection point in our history," Bass said, explaining that the country just went through a pandemic, inflation and the cost of living is rising, and 40,000 people are sleeping in the streets. "No matter what, we never give up. We have never given up and that’s our LA magic."

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According to Bass, far too many Angelinos do not have any other choice but to crowd multiple families into homes.

Many people are struggling to pay their bills and cover car repairs. Oftentimes, the mayor said, many people get pushed into a crisis that can include addiction, then lose their homes.

Rep. Karen Bass gathers with supporters at Angel's Point in Elysian Park on May 27, 2022, in Los Angeles.

Rep. Karen Bass gathers with supporters at Angel's Point in Elysian Park on May 27, 2022, in Los Angeles. (Jason Armond/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

For the last three weeks, Bass has been working through the transition into office with Mayor Eric Garcetti.

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Part of that transition has included calling on city council members, the city attorney, comptroller, and others to unify and react with urgency to solve the issue of homelessness.

"We have already started," Bass said, throwing out the request for everyone to lock arms with her as she takes on this task. "You elected me to lead and lead I will do."

Tents and belongings at a homeless encampment in Toriumi Plaza, at 1st and Judge John Aiso Streets in Los Angeles, March 17, 2022.

Tents and belongings at a homeless encampment in Toriumi Plaza, at 1st and Judge John Aiso Streets in Los Angeles, March 17, 2022. (Hans Gutknecht/MediaNews Group/Los Angeles Daily News via Getty Images)

Bass was sworn in as the 43rd mayor of Los Angeles, also becoming the first woman, and second black person to ever serve in that role.

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Vice President Kamala Harris, who did not give a speech during the ceremony, swore Bass into office.

Rather than taking place on the steps of City Hall, the ceremony took place at the Microsoft Theater and was attended by almost every city official, Gov. Gavin Newsom, and several of Bass’s congressional constituents. Projected onto the screen behind everyone were the steps of City Hall.

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Also in attendance were musicians like the contemporary gospel duo Mary Mary and Stevie Wonder, who sang, "Living for the City," and National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman, who read a poem.