The Palmdale City Council is sending a strong message to Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass by passing a resolution aimed at not using the desert city in northern Los Angeles County as a dumping ground for homeless people.
The Palmdale City Council voted unanimously on a resolution at its meeting on Wednesday night declaring opposition to the city of Los Angeles using emergency powers to create a homeless village in the Palmdale area.
Leaders in northern L.A. County communities of the Antelope Valley have cited comments Bass made during her mayoral campaign but she has since said there is no plan to move homeless people to that area and that her focus will be on housing for the unsheltered in the L.A. area.
“It’s very clear, very concise. It makes the point known without declaring war on the city of Los Angeles,” City Councilwoman Andrea Alarcon said at the meeting on Wednesday.
One of the first actions Bass took when she became mayor of Los Angeles was to declare an emergency on homelessness. The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors followed by declaring an emergency on homelessness on Tuesday at its meeting. Supervisor Lindsey P. Horvath said the decision by the board honors the November mandate from L.A. County voters to, “lead with urgency and transparency to address the homeless crisis in every neighborhood.”
The Long Beach City Council approved an emergency proclamation on homelessness on Tuesday night.
Part of the county emergency declaration calls for accelerating the creation of more licensed shelter beds and interim and permanent housing. The Palmdale City Council members are worried their city will be used as a place for shelters for homeless people from other cities in Los Angeles County.
Bass issued a statement following the emergency declaration by the Board of Supervisors stating, “The people of Los Angeles deserve that we urgently and immediately take every possible action to bring unhoused Angelenos indoors, and this declaration will enable us to move faster and unlock every tool possible.”
The most recent point-in-time homeless count in 2022 revealed nearly 42,000 homeless people in the city of Los Angeles and more than 69,000 in the county.
Back in December, Lancaster — Palmdale’s desert neighbor — declared its own “state of emergency” over L.A.’s homeless crisis, also opposing any movement of homeless people to that area.
“I strongly oppose Mayor Bass’ plan to move the LA homeless population to a village in the Antelope Valley,” said Lancaster Mayor Rex Parris in a statement. “This kind of inhumane and degrading treatment of individuals who are already struggling is unacceptable and must be stopped. How can you claim that your city is a sanctuary city while sending your own citizens away,” said Mayor Parris.
City News Service contributed to this report