October 13, 2016
By Kimberlee Buck
Thursday, October 6, Congresswoman Janice Hahn, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, Congressman Alan Lowenthal, Congresswoman Grace Napolitano, Councilman Rex Richardson and Shari Weaver, Regional Coordinator of Services Provider Area 8 spoke at the North Long Beach Winter Weather Shelter to urge California Gov. Jerry Brown to take action on the homelessness epidemic in Southern California.
“The homeless crisis has hit Los Angeles County hard, but we are not alone,” said Congresswoman Hahn. “My colleagues in Congress from communities across the state have witnessed a devastating rise in homelessness—proving that homelessness is not a Los Angeles problem, or a San Francisco problem, it is a statewide problem and demands a statewide solution. We are urging Governor Brown do use every means at his disposal to provide our communities with new statewide resources immediately.”
Over 15 representatives from the local homeless aid providers were also in attendance, chanting and holding up signs with the statement, “#Fight4Homeless.”
During the press event, Congresswoman Hahn announced that she along with 31 of her colleagues in Congress, has written and signed a letter to Gov. Brown asking him to provide resources to the unsheltered individuals and families statewide.
Members of California’s congressional delegation who have signed the letter include:
Congresswoman Janice Hahn CA-44, Congressman Alan Lowenthal CA-47; Congressman Mark DeSaulnier CA-11, Congressman Juan Vargas CA-51, Congressman Ted Lieu CA-33, Congressman Jared Huffman CA-2, Congressman Brad Sherman CA-30, Congresswoman Susan Davis CA-53, Congresswoman Julia Brownley CA-26, Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard CA-40,, Congressman Adam Schiff CA-28, Congressman Mike Honda CA-17, Congresswoman Jackie Speier CA-14, Congressman Tony Cardenas CA-29, Congresswoman Norma Torres CA-35
Congressman Pete Aguilar CA-31, Congressman Mike Thompson CA-5, Congresswoman Maxine Waters CA-43, Congresswoman Grace Napolitano CA-32, Congressman Jerry McNerney CA-9, Congresswoman Judy Chu CA-27, Congresswoman Linda Sanchez CA-38, Congresswoman Karen Bass CA-37, Congresswoman Doris Matsui CA-6, Congressman Ami Bera CA-7, Congresswoman, Loretta Sanchez CA-46, Congressman Sam Farr CA-20, Congressman Scott Peters CA-52, Congressman Jim Costa CA-16, Congresswoman Anna G. Eshoo CA-18
“Homelessness is in fact a moral issue in the county of Los Angeles and across the state of California. It is also a civil rights issues. It is a human rights issue. When you consider homelessness, you have to think about the single adults in California, 73 percent, the highest rate in the entire country, unsheltered, living outside and exposed to the elements. This cannot continue, so the county is collaborating with all levels of government,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.
“We don’t believe in one size fits all, we are doing everything we can to address this issue but we need help and we need a lot of it.”
The L.A. County Board of Supervisors is also behind Prop HHH, a $1.2 billion bond measure by the city of Los Angeles, to build housing for the homeless.
Although Prop HHH would build over 8,000 to 10,000 permanent housing units for the homeless for the next decade, amenities and temporary shelters, local officials are in agreement that more needs to be done for the homeless, which also includes homeless veterans and the mentally ill.
“We have a very big crisis on our hands, in the San Gabriel valley alone, we have tons of homeless and they need the housing,” said Congresswoman Grace F. Napolitano.
“The ones that I target more, are my veterans. Southern California has the largest veteran population yet we are not concerned that women with families are also veterans that are homeless.”
Congresswoman Napolitano went on to urge Gov. Brown to take action.
“Mr. Governor, come and visit Los Angeles, downtown and take a look at what’s happening and maybe then you will have a change of heart and help us out in Southern California. They say it takes a village to make it work, the village is ready Mr. Governor, where are you?”
The event ended with local leaders asking for ongoing support from different levels of government.
It’s not one department, but it has to be a whole continuum, from the county to the state to the local health departments to law enforcement, everybody has to work together to have a well-resourced plan,” said Vice Mayor and Councilman Richardson.