Todd Gloria at press conference
Mayor Todd Gloria speaks at a press conference. Courtesy of the mayor’s office

Mayor Todd Gloria joined a coalition of mayors from California’s 13 largest cities Thursday in calling on state officials to provide $20 billion over five years to address the homeless crisis.

“We can’t solve this problem in one fiscal year, it’s going to take that repeated commitment of state, federal and local leadership to get the job done,” Gloria said.

The Big City Mayors coalition also includes mayors from Los Angeles, San Jose, San Francisco, Fresno, Sacramento, Long Beach, Oakland, Bakersfield, Anaheim, Riverside, Santa Ana and Stockton.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti called homelessness “the biggest crisis in California.”

“We see it on our underpasses and overpasses, we see it under our bridges, and unfortunately, it’s not just there anymore in the shadows, it’s in front of businesses and homes, it is everywhere,” Garcetti said.

The coalition is seeking $4 billion a year for five years to directly fund cities as they continue their work to combat the homeless crisis.

“We’re not coming in empty hats in hand, we’re coming with hard hats on and pockets already full of investments,” Garcetti said. “Behind each one of us, you see how we spend it: It’s for shelter, it’s for permanent housing, it’s for cleanups, it’s for services, it’s for everything that we need to address the complexity of homelessness.”

During their meeting with the Big City Mayors Thursday, Gloria, Garcetti and the other mayors emphasized that the homelessness problem is larger than any individual city can address and needs a consistent state response to make progress.

While about 568,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness, more than a quarter of them –about 151,000 people – are in California, according to 2019 data from the National Alliance to End Homelessness.

“I know that when we talk about $20 billion, a big number, well it’s a big issue, right, and we have to have a proportional response to that issue,” Santa Ana Mayor Vicente Sarmiento said.

“We’re blessed to be living in a state that I think there’s an understanding, and there’s a humanity, that we all want to deliver these services,” he said. “But I think the moment is now and I think that we all have to band together and use this opportunity,” he said.

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