Los Angeles Advisory Panel Set to Elect Homeless Person

Five homeless individuals in Los Angeles, Calif., are campaigning for a seat on the two-year-old Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council, which gives a voice to the city’s 11,000 homeless people, the Los Angeles Times reported June 9.

There are five candidates for the one seat, including an unemployed lawyer and a self-described “monarchist.” The 27-seat council advises the mayor and the City Council.

“Our voices need to be at the table to help City Hall make decisions,” said Bilal Ali, a former paralegal. He said that city leaders lack the “political and creative will” to address the homeless problem.

Among the various issues that the candidates are pushing are shelter reforms and an end to police rousing people from the sidewalks at dawn.

Orlando Ward, director of public affairs for the Midnight Mission, said last year’s homeless representative on the council, Andrew Johnson, “challenged people to rethink their own ideas about housing, homelessness, and law enforcement.”