first_imgMayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced plans Monday to spend a record $137 million to build six affordable-housing projects in the east San Fernando Valley and 15 more citywide, but said the city needs a permanent source of funding to solve its homeless problem. The plan calls for spending $82.8 million on 1,222 units in 21 below-market housing projects and $54.1 million on 274 “supportive” housing units, which feature counseling, job training and drug rehabilitation for homeless individuals and families. Because the federal government provided some of the money, applicants will have to prove they are U.S. citizens. “This is a drop in the bucket compared to what we need,” Villaraigosa said at a news conference at an affordable-housing project in Echo Park. “We have 44,000 homeless people in the city of Los Angeles, 88,000 in the county, while we have more than 260,000 millionaires in this city. We have the wealth. The city, the state and the federal government have the money. All we need is the will to deal with this.” The Affordable Housing Task Force developed the list of projects, which will be considered today by the council’s Housing, Community and Economic Development Committee. The mayor said he was able to provide $100 million to the trust fund – and is looking for another $100 million this year – by getting money from the Department of Water and Power, Community Redevelopment Agency, Los Angeles Housing Authority and other departments. “It’s time to put this money to use,” said Villaraigosa, estimating that the money has leveraged more than $1 billion from the state and federal government, as well as private investors. “But we cannot continue to pay for it like we have, borrowing from other agencies. We need to find a permanent source of funding.” He said the city should look at reviving the $1 billion bond proposal that received 62 percent of the vote in November, about 4 percent below what was needed for approval. “Some people say we will never get beyond that number,” he said. “But I think if you look at who votes for these things, it’s Democrats, and we need to have this on an election where they turn out – either the presidential primary or general election.” The mayor pointed to the Echo Park project as a model, and he said he hopes new projects will be able to help eliminate chronic homelessness in Los Angeles. Among the residents of the Echo Park building is Justine Thomas, who suffers from heart disease and cares for a grandmother with Alzheimer’s. “I can’t tell you how good it is to know you have some hope, that you don’t have to live on the streets,” she said. “If it wasn’t for this, I don’t know what we would have done.” Stories of people such as Thomas and their quest for affordable housing are often difficult ones for city officials, Councilman Ed Reyes said. “The fact is people don’t want this kind of housing in their neighborhoods,” he said. “If we are going to address this problem, we have to do it on a citywide basis.” [email protected] (213) 978-0390160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more