MAYOR Eric Garcetti announced Monday, July 1, that he would lead a coalition of mayors calling on Congress to pass the Ending Homelessness Act. The legislation, sponsored by Representative Maxine Waters, would direct more than $13 billion to support the work of cities on the front lines of this crisis, deliver vital services to homeless residents, and bring our unsheltered neighbors indoors.
Other mayors supporting this effort include Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot; Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh; Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney; Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan; Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson; Austin Mayor Steve Adler; Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer; Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg; Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf; Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu; Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido; Riverside Mayor Rusty Bailey; and Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell.
“Cities are fighting hard every day to turn the tide on this humanitarian crisis — and Washington has to match our urgency, our commitment, and the investment we’re making to confront it,” said Mayor Garcetti. “Homelessness is a national emergency that requires federal action, and we need Congress to be part of the solution and supply resources that can bring housing, health care, and hope to Americans suffering on our streets.”
Rep. Waters’ proposal would create new affordable housing to support people experiencing homelessness. Specifically, the bill provides $5 billion over five years to support 85,000 new permanent housing units. It directs $2.5 billion over five years to new Special Purpose Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers, which would give preference to people experiencing homelessness and those most at-risk of becoming homeless. And it would add $1 billion to the National Housing Trust Fund, which is expected to create 25,000 new units for extremely low-income households.
In the coming months, Mayor Garcetti will lead this coalition to rally support for the legislation in Washington, D.C.; increase the number of cosponsors representing our cities; and testify in favor of the measure before the House of Representatives. Mayor Garcetti proposed a U.S. Conference of Mayors resolution endorsing the legislation and calling for its immediate passage that will occur at the conclusion of the conference today.
“Chicago is proud to stand with cities across the country in support of our homeless and at-risk families,” said Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. “No one should ever have to call a bridge, park bench, or a doorway home. Here in Chicago we are ready to make the critical investments needed to expand affordable housing, social services, and job training to prevent homelessness before it starts, but we can’t do it alone. That’s why we welcome opportunities to collaborate with our partners across city, state and federal levels to coordinate resources and develop policies to ensure every Chicagoan has access to the support they need and the resources to lead the lives they deserve.”
“Homelessness is not a problem that cities can solve on their own — it is a national issue that needs a national response. The federal government needs to be our partner in this critical work,” said Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh. “In Boston, we have worked hard to reduce homelessness among veterans and people experiencing chronic homelessness. But to truly end homelessness, we need to support the bill Representative Waters is proposing. This bill will allow for more investment in supportive housing and allow for the kinds of services that stabilize the most vulnerable among us, including recovery and mental health support at a scale equal to the true need. Broad and deep investment of critical resources from the federal government is sorely needed.”
“The Ending Homelessness Act is a vital first step investing in real solutions. But most importantly, it finally recognizes our national homelessness crisis and connects it to housing,” said Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney. “Right now, cities and states do so much good with so few resources. With this investment, these efforts would start to be matched proportionally by federal resources.”
“Cities across our country are the frontlines of addressing our homelessness and housing crisis and need urgent action from our federal government. Seattle has poured unprecedented resources into this crisis, but homelessness cannot and will not be solved by only local governments,” said Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan. “While cities like Seattle are helping more people than ever move into permanent housing, Congress needs to step up and give cities more resources to move people off the street and into housing.”
“Homelessness is an urgent challenge in cities across America, and ending it will take all of us working together,” said Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson. “In Dallas, we are already taking important steps to address this issue, but we need Washington to step up and do its part. That’s why I’m proud to join mayors across the country in support of this bill.”
“The Ending Homelessness Act is national recognition that the breadth and pervasiveness of the homelessness challenge transcends city limits and state lines,” said Austin Mayor Steve Adler. “Austin has cut youth homelessness in half and brought veteran homelessness to net zero. If passed, this bill will leverage attention and the much needed resources to help us finish the job.”
“Mayors across America are working to address homelessness, and they can’t do it alone,” said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer. “We need the resources of the federal government to help us tackle this complex challenge.”
“Homelessness has reached crisis levels in our country and our response requires action at every level of government,” said Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, who chairs the CA Big City Mayors Coalition. “If tens of thousands of people were made homeless by a flood or a fire, we would not tolerate them living unsheltered for years.”
“Cities need help from all levels of government and federal resources would help us deliver an immediate upgrade to people’s lives,” said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. “Oakland supports all legislation that prevents our residents from sliding into homelessness in the first place, but we also need funding right now to help move our neighbors off the sidewalks and into safety and services.”
“One of the most effective ways our national government can address homelessness is by investing in cities,” Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu said. “In Anaheim, we have leveraged city, state and federal funding into a comprehensive strategy of daily outreach, shelters, services, job training and lasting housing. It is a proven model that has transformed lives and restored neighborhoods.”
“The City of Santa Ana is grateful to the State of California for the Homeless Emergency Aid Program block grant that we collectively advocated to come to fruition last year through a strong coalition of Big City Mayors. We, in California, have stepped up and now we need additional support and funding on Federal level to supplement the arduous work happening at the City level,” said Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido. “The City of Santa Ana was one of the first cities to declare a shelter crisis last August, after a City-led Point in Time Count that indicated our unsheltered homeless population had increased drastically. We need to move fast to support the expansion of shelter beds to house this unsheltered population, to secure safe immediate housing for individuals experiencing homelessness, and to mitigate negative impacts of homelessness in our community. With the support of Washington for the Ending Homelessness Act, we can continue to address the humanitarian and public safety crisis concerning homelessness in the beautiful City of Santa Ana.”
“The Ending Homelessness Act will deliver relief to our neighbors without homes, while protecting the quality of life in our cities,” said Riverside Mayor Rusty Bailey. “Take it from a mayor who is committed to solutions — resources, not rhetoric, make a difference when it comes to addressing this complex issue. We cannot be complacent when we have children, veterans, disabled and elderly sleeping on our streets.”
“Our nation’s mayors are doers, not talkers, and the best way to move the needle forward on homelessness is by funding proven and effective programs like Housing First at the city level,” said Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell. “We need immediate action by Congress and the White House because true compassion is not allowing people to live on our streets where their lifespans are cut precipitously short.”
At the annual 87th Annual Meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Mayor Garcetti participated in a session entitled “Homelessness and Housing: Government, Philanthropy, and the Private Sector,” alongside Mayor Caldwell, whose city hosted this year’s gathering; San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo; Eugene, Oregon, Mayor Lucy Vinis; and Glendale, Arizona, Mayor Jerry Weiers; and Matthew Doherty, Executive Director of the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness.
Mayor Garcetti, Mayor Kenney, Mayor Durkan, Mayor Steinberg, and Mayor Schaaf are also members of Mayors and CEOs for U.S. Housing Investment, a coalition working to highlight housing issues, oppose funding cuts, and advocate for public-private partnerships that support affordable housing and address homelessness.
In addition to the Ending Homelessness Act, Mayor Garcetti and his colleagues will push for action on two other pieces of legislation: the Fighting Homelessness Through Services and Housing Act sponsored by Senator Feinstein and Representative Ted Lieu, which would establish a new $750 million grant program to provide homeless services; and the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act, sponsored by Senator Maria Cantwell and Representative Suzan DelBene, which would increase the housing credit allocation by 50 percent and boost affordable housing production by an estimated 450,000 homes over the next decade.
Last month, Mayor Garcetti met at City Hall with members of L.A.’s congressional delegation to discuss the need for federal assistance to end the homelessness crisis.