Councilman Kevin de Leon has been named chair of the Los Angeles City Council’s Homelessness and Poverty Committee, which had been headed by Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas before his suspension from office following his indictment on federal corruption charges.
De Leon, who has served in the City Council since October 2020, represents Skid Row as part of his district, which also encompasses Eagle Rock, Boyle Heights and Highland Park.
Soon after entering the L.A. City Council, de Leon launched his “A Way Home” initiative aimed at creating 25,000 new homeless housing units by 2025.
He also recently opened the largest Tiny Home Village in the U.S., with 117 units and 224 beds to provide transitional housing for people experiencing homelessness in the Highland Park community.
Councilwoman Nithya Raman, who was already a member of the committee, is now serving as vice chair, Council President Nury Martinez’ office said.
Councilman Bob Blumenfield was appointed to the committee to fill the vacant seat, joining de Leon, Raman, Councilman Joe Buscaino and Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez.
The committee has not met since before Ridley-Thomas was indicted on Oct. 13. He was suspended by the council on Oct. 20 by an 11-3 vote.
Shortly after his suspension, he pleaded not guilty to federal bribery and conspiracy charges stemming from his time serving on the county Board of Supervisors.
Before his suspension, the councilman said he would not resign and would continue to focus on addressing Los Angeles’ homelessness and housing crisis. He later said he would step back from attending meetings, but remain in office.
Ridley-Thomas on Friday sent a letter to the City Council saying he was “disheartened to see that all October Homelessness and Poverty Committee meetings have been canceled over the past two weeks, including the one that would have occurred today, which creates uncertainty for a variety of supportive housing projects and the timely homeless and housing-related policy discussions, as described above.”