Homelessness will be key issue in District 6 race
February 9, 2023
Voters in parts of the San Fernando Valley are gearing up for a special election to replace former Los Angeles City Council member Nury Martinez (District 6), and already, homelessness is becoming a key issue in the race.
The district includes neighborhoods like North Hollywood, North Hills, Sun Valley, Panorama City, Van Nuys and Arleta. Each of those neighborhoods has seen a rise in their homeless population and encampments, much like the surrounding Greater Los Angeles area.
Seven candidates have qualified for the ballot and each is starting to lay out their plans on how they will address homelessness in District 6.
Spectrum News 1 spoke to constituents and the leading housing and homeless services provider in the area about what they want to see from the candidates when it comes to tackling the homeless crisis.
Jessi Keenan, who founded the Orange Cooler Project — a nonprofit that provides water, food and care to unhoused residents living on Aetna Street (near Van Nuys Boulevard), says “It’s mental health, and until you address mental health, then nothing’s going to work. It’s just going to be a constant in and out of hotels, in and out of housing. Someone gets kicked out, they go right back into the system.”
Ken Craft, the founder and CEO of Hope the Mission, which helps provide services and housing for homeless residents in parts of the San Fernando Valley, says whoever ends up winning the seat, needs to work hand-in-hand with established providers like his organization to make an impact.
Craft also said, “We need somebody that recognizes the need, who sees the magnitude of the need, and is willing to work with providers to open up interim housing beds, as well as permanent, supportive, and affordable housing in council District 6.”