California mayors urge White House to help with homeless crisis

Washington DC Bureau

Los Angeles, California, USA downtown skyline.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (NEXSTAR) — Some California mayors who are in Washington, D.C. this week for the U.S. Conference of Mayors took advantage of their time in the nation’s capital to urge the White House to help with the state’s homeless crisis.

The mayors involved are hopeful the negotiation is working.

Putting partisanship aside, California lawmakers are hoping to partner with the Trump Administration to curb the homeless crisis plaguing the state.

“This is an issue that is never to be weaponized,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “It’s not partisan. It’s not Democrat. It’s not Republican.”

Late last year, Garcetti took an unprecedented step by inviting Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson to Los Angeles to get directly involved.

“He was traumatized as any human being would be walking through, seeing tent after tent,” he said.

Garcetti says he’s now working with HUD to secure funding plus FEMA trailers for emergency housing.

“We’re trying to help him look at what solutions work,” he explains.

And while optimistic, negotiations are ongoing. Garcetti’s staff met with HUD officials earlier this week, and the Mayor and Secretary Carson are set to meet in person on Friday.

“If it is possible to partner in a way that brings the resources of the federal government, we’re all open to it,” said Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg.

Steinberg chairs California’s statewide homeless task force.

Last week, the task force made state-owned land available for counties and cities to build affordable housing and he says HUD should do the same with federal land.

“Opening access to federal lands would be a huge boost,” Steinberg said.

California Governor Gavin Newsom made that request in a letter to Secretary Carson on Tuesday saying “only housing and services solve homelessness.”

HUD did not respond to multiple requests for a comment.

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