Housing justice advocates from AHF and its housing advocacy arm, Housing Is A Human Right (HHR), are today calling on Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, City Council members and other key city officials to resume in-person City Council, PLUM (Planning & Land Use Management) meetings and other city business by April 15th.
The groups are also urging the city to lift its furlough and bring city staff back to work in their offices at L.A. City Hall and other key departments, including the City’s Department of Building and Safety (LADBS) starting April 15th. Due to budget constraints and the COVID-19 pandemic, many city offices and departments have furloughed staff and operated with greatly reduced service hours—and services—available to the public. Many of the remaining city staff have worked remotely for the duration.
AHF and Housing Is A Human Right’s request that the City of Los Angeles quickly gets back to business in-person, in its offices and buildings and with in-person council meetings comes on the heels of two recent key developments:
- First, a decision announced Friday by California state officials that will allow indoor concerts, conferences, seated live events, sports and other private gatherings to resume statewide effective April 15th, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, “… as California’s COVID-19 test positivity rate nears a record low.”
- In addition, the City of Los Angeles is receiving $1.35 billion in federal COVID relief funding as part of the $1.9 trillion COVID stimulus bill signed by President Biden March 11th. The city must act quickly to put this funding to proper use, particularly addressing the homeless crisis, and advocates believe city staff can be more nimble and responsive back in their offices.
“Over the past year, many businesses and service providers faced significant delays related to inspections, permitting and other routine, day-to-day city business as we have all tried to navigate work and life under COVID-19 as best we can,” said Michael Weinstein, president of AHF. “Now, with a game-changing influx of $1.3 billion in federal COVID relief funds coming our way, Mayor Garcetti and the City Council have real opportunity to take on our homeless crisis as well as other problems with effective and long-lasting solutions. But to do so, we need the city to be fully back in business with in-person City Council and PLUM meetings, with staff back at City Hall, the Building and Safety Department and other key departments.”
Decreasing COVID-19 positivity rates and increased vaccination rates statewide also offer strong additional reason for city and other government workers to transition back to the office. “With the state opening up so many other events and gatherings effective April 15th, it only follows that our local Los Angeles government offices serving the public should also reopen,” added Weinstein.
Ged Kenslea, Senior Director, Communications for AHF, +1.323.791.5526, email@example.com