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U.S. Conference of Mayors’ National Convening in Los Angeles Raises National Momentum To End Homelessness

LOS ANGELES – Yesterday, Mayor Karen Bass, U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) President Reno (NV) Mayor Hillary Schieve and the U.S. Conference of Mayors y led a convening of Mayors across the country in Los Angeles that raised national momentum to end homelessness. Mayors from across the country discussed ways to build on a national strategy to combat homelessness through legislative, regulatory and budgetary federal action. The convening included a tour of Skid Row as well as the Hilda Solis Care First Village in order to see the magnitude of the crisis as well as a successful example of eliminating barriers to building housing. Mayor Bass serves as the Chair of the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Homelessness Task Force. 

B-roll of tour of Hilda Solis Care First Village available here. Photos of panels and tours available here. Watch the press conference here

“When Mayors come together and unite around a common issue that all of our cities are facing, we can make national change,” said Mayor Karen Bass. “Many of our cities are facing similar barriers to moving unhoused people inside and together we will knock those barriers down. I also want to make clear the consequences of inaction. Confronting this crisis is a matter of life and death so I thank Mayor Schieve for agreeing to convene here in Los Angeles and look forward to our continued partnership.”

“As a nation, we have not made housing a priority, and the results have been devastating for too many of our fellow Americans who go unhoused. There are many dimensions to this issue, but I firmly believe that we must prioritize addressing the nation’s mental health crisis as a part of this important work. America’s cities are on the front lines of addressing the nation’s homelessness crisis, and mayors continue to rise to the challenge. But we can’t do it alone. While our discussions this week gave mayors the opportunity to collaborate on promising solutions, we also need Congress to do its part,” said USCM President Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve.

“It is past time for America to have a national answer that is flexible enough to meet the homelessness and housing insecurity needs on the local level. Mayors have been sounding the alarm on this for years. We must protect people from ending up out on the street,” said Tom Cochran, USCM CEO & Executive Director. “Leaders like Mayors Hillary Schieve and Karen Bass have been fighting to put this issue at the top of the national agenda. It’s been ignored for too long, and our cities need federal resources which they can direct to local solutions on housing.”

Conference panelists included White House Domestic Policy Advisor Neera Tanden, Chief Policy Officer of the National Alliance to End Homelessness Steve Berg, Director of the University of California, San Francisco Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative Dr. Margot Kushel, and CEO of the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority CEO Dr. Va Lecia Adams Kellum. During her remarks, Neera Tanden announced that the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued a letter to Public Housing Authorities regarding regulatory flexibilities to support their work to address homelessness, echoing Mayor Bass’s leadership on this important issue throughout cities across the country. Find the letter here.

Among other topics, the Mayors discussed the need for additional federal support for housing vouchers, emergency rental assistance, and robust mental health and substance use treatment. Over the coming months, the Task Force will prepare a national advocacy agenda and reconvene at the U.S. Conference of Mayors 92nd Winter Meeting in Washington DC in January 2024.

Participating mayors included Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, Denver Mayor Mike Johnston, Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego, Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, Riverside Mayor Patricia Lock Dawson, Eugene Mayor Lucy Vinis, San Bernardino Mayor Helen Tran, Bakersfield Mayor Karen Goh, Santa Monica Mayor Gleam Davis, West Sacramento Mayor Martha Guerrero, Toledo, Ohio Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz, Columbia, South Carolina Mayor Daniel Rickenmann, St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones, Youngstown Mayor Tito Brown, Long Beach Mayor Rex Richardson, and Fontana Mayor Acquanetta Warren.