LOS ANGELES, California — Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti blamed “institutional racism” for homelessness on Friday, though liberal California is one of the only states in which homelessness has been rising.
Garcetti was addressing a press conference to discuss the city’s progress in reducing homelessness during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Institutional racism is a leading cause of homelessness in Los Angeles. In Los Angeles County, where 8 to 9 percent of the population is African American, a third of all people experiencing homelessness are black.”
Describing the problem as “homelessness against black Angelenos,” Garcetti traced the problem back many generations, to discrimination against black veterans in the post-World War II era, to residential covenants that prevented black people from buying property, and to redlining by banks (all practices which have been illegal for decades).
In December, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development revealed that California is “entirely” responsible for a 2.7% nationwide rise in homelessness, which rose a staggering 16.4% in the Golden State.
Los Angeles County has seen a dramatic rise in homelessness in recent years, rising to nearly 60,000 people last year, with some observers voicing concerns about a possible outbreak of bubonic plague and other diseases.
On Friday, the latest homeless count — with data prior to the pandemic — revealed that the homeless population in Los Angeles County rose 13% in the previous year, reaching over 66,000 people. In the city, the increase was 14%.
Though Garcetti has promised to deal with homelessness throughout his tenure as mayor, he has failed to make progress.
Garcetti said that the city succeeded in bringing 6,000 people indoors during the coronavirus pandemic — some in individual trailers and hotel rooms, and some in communal shelters.
Garcetti also said that the city was “collectively grieving the lives lost due to racism in this country,” noting the recent burial of George Floyd in Houston, Texas, after he was killed in the custody of police in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on Memorial Day.
On Wednesday, Garcetti described “systemic racism” as “racism that is built into systems.” He seemed to conflate unequal outcomes with intentional or “systemic” discrimination.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.
This post has been updated with data from the latest homeless count.