Karen Bass among group of mayors calling for solution to veteran homelessness across the US

Carlos Granda Image
Wednesday, May 1, 2024
Bass, group of mayors call for solution to veteran homelessness
L.A. Mayor Karen Bass is trying to find solutions for homelessness. She was in Washington D.C. to fight for federal help to tackle veteran homelessness.

Homelessness is a major issue for cities across the U.S. and that's why local officials think there should be a nationwide solution.

Dozens of mayors from across the country, including Los Angeles' Karen Bass, met with members of Congress in Washington D.C. this week. They asked for federal help with the crisis, especially when it comes to assistance for homeless veterans.

Bass is the chair of the U.S. Conference of Mayors Homelessness Task Force.

"The men and women who have defended us should never, ever, ever sleep one night outside," she said.

A new state audit finds that there are an estimated 171,000 homeless people in California. Many of them are veterans.

The group of mayors called for help so that those veterans can qualify for vouchers and assistance. They say existing rules and income caps actually hinder some veterans from accessing certain benefits, and they sometimes have to choose between their veteran benefits or housing.

"Right now, veterans who receive total or near disability compensation are unable to access affordable housing in many parts of our country because their VA benefits put them over the eligibility limits," said Congressman Mark Takano, who represents the Riverside area.

The mayors say they can only do so much at the local level and they need Washington to change what they consider outdated regulations.

"Do you think when we come to Washington, it's just to ask for money? Of course, we always want money... but money is not everything. We also need changes and rules and regulations - getting rid of the red tape - so we can get people off the streets," said Bass.

Congressman Takano, who is on the House committee on veteran affairs, said there needs to be a legislative solution, as well as changes from the administration.

He said he is trying to work out a plan with other members of Congress, but it will take weeks.