Cedillo bill designed to aid homeless

first_imgSACRAMENTO – Hoping to relieve homelessness in areas such as Skid Row, Sen. Gil Cedillo, D-Los Angeles, is proposing legislation that could force more communities to provide homeless shelters. Cedillo’s bill would require all cities and counties in California to analyze the need for homeless shelters and provide adequate zoning for the sites. While the measure would not mandate that shelters be created, it would make it more difficult for city councils – particularly those in wealthier areas – to deny applications to build shelters. “The goal is to have the entire community of California engaged in the challenges that confront California with respect to homelessness,” Cedillo said. “It is not the exclusive responsibility of downtown Los Angeles or Santa Monica or downtown Sacramento or Truckee to address all the homeless problems of California.” The legislation, supported by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, is being proposed as L.A. officials have renewed efforts to tackle the homeless problem on Skid Row. City officials have long complained that other nearby communities direct their homeless to downtown Los Angeles, including hospitals that “dump” mentally ill patients on Skid Row. They argue that other suburban communities should do more to provide services for the homeless. Los Angeles County has an estimated 90,000 homeless people, the most of any major city in the United States. On Tuesday, Cedillo’s Senate Bill 2 had its first committee hearing, where it received preliminary support. It was temporarily held up, however, until more committee members could be present to vote. But the effort raised concern among some that the state could force communities to accept shelters or dictate how to address the problem of homelessness. Tony Bell, spokesman for Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, noted that such communities as Pasadena and Lancaster have come up with their own proposals for shelters without state intervention. He added that some communities simply don’t have services such as public transit and mental health facilities that should accompany homeless shelters. “Solutions have to come from the community, not at them,” Bell said. “What we don’t need is to force our county communities to accept homeless shelters to address the problems in downtown Los Angeles.” Cedillo’s bill is similar to one he authored last year that was vetoed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. In his veto message, Schwarzenegger wrote that the bill limits the authority of local governments to address the needs of their own communities. Cedillo’s bill, however, is supported by the Central City Association, which represents downtown businesses. [email protected] dailynews.com (916) 446-6723last_img