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Karen Bass was sworn in as the mayor of Los Angeles on Sunday, making history as the first woman ever to hold the position. The Democrat beat out businessman Rick Caruso, who spent more than $100 million on his campaign, by securing 54.8% of the vote in November.
Her first move as Los Angeles’ new mayor was to issue an emergency order to tackle the city’s rampant homelessness-something she pledged to do throughout her campaign.
“When life is this hard for some Angelenos, it affects all Angelenos. That is why tomorrow morning, I will start my first day as mayor at our city’s Emergency Operations Center, where my first act as mayor will be to declare a state of emergency on homelessness,” Bass said. “My emergency declaration will recognize the severity of our crisis and break new ground to maximize our ability to urgently move people inside and do so for good.”
The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, also known as LAHSA, calculated 69,144 people experiencing homelessness in L.A. in 2022 – a 4.1% upsurge over 2020.
“I will not accept a homeless crisis that afflicts more than 40,000 Angelenos and affects every one of us. It is a humanitarian crisis that takes the life of five people every day,” the mayor declared. “It must stop, and change starts now…There will be no holding back on my watch.”
The state of emergency will need approval monthly from the Los Angeles City Council to remain in effect.
Bass’ mission in her first year as mayor is to house 17,000 people.