Church Leaders Join Mayor for Homeless Pledge

Rev. Mark Nakagawa of the United Methodist Church speaks at a press conference on July 20 announcing Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Day of Compassion initiative. (JUNKO YOSHIDA/Rafu Shimpo)


More than 100 religious leaders from Los Angeles joined Mayor Eric Garcetti last Thursday and signed a pledge to help in the fight against homelessness.

“It’s on us to push through the fear and the misunderstanding on homelessness, and it’s on us to find pathways out of homelessness for our brothers and sisters,” Garcetti said at a news conference with the religious leaders standing behind him on the south steps of City Hall. “It’s on us to lead by example and change the fate of the least among us, and its time that we open our doors without fear to create safe spaces for everybody.”

The Days of Compassion initiative commits the faith leaders to enlist their congregations to participate in various efforts, which could include hosting mobile showers in their parking lots, organizing tours of permanent supportive housing or offering day storage to homeless people for their belongings.

The initiative comes as city and county residents have approved billions in spending to go toward homeless programs and after the Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count released numbers in May that found homelessness had jumped 20 percent in the city in 2016 and 23 percent in the county.

Measure HHH, which was passed by city voters last November, is expected to raise $1.2 billion to build housing for the homeless through a bond measure. Measure H was passed by county voters in March and is expected to raise $355 million for homeless programs annually for 10 years th