Karen Bass says she would lean on federal government to help address homeless crisis

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, at the invitation of Bass, spent the day touring affordable housing sites.
LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Marcia Fudge, at the invitation of Congresswoman Karen Bass, who is running for mayor of Los Angeles, spent the day touring affordable housing sites in the city on Thursday along with programs that help the homeless stay off the streets.

"This is the epicenter of homelessness, Los Angeles," said Fudge. "Any time a nation cannot take care of its most vulnerable people, it has failed."

Bass - one of the leading candidates for mayor - believes the homeless crisis is an emergency and hopes Fudge would use her visit to learn about some of the city's challenges.

"... Specifically with vouchers," said Bass. "The need for flexibility with vouchers and the extension of vouchers."

Fudge told reporters that although the federal government will never be able to build all the affordable housing that's needed, she got the message that they can do more, including vouchers and removing unnecessary regulations.

It's something that's at the center of Bass' campaign, leveraging her relationships with the federal government to increase their involvement in an effort to end homelessness.

"Some of the particularities about L.A., we wanted [Fudge] to understand, we also wanted to show off the fact that there's so many people that are doing such good work here, but are just not able to get to scale because the problem is so enormous here," said Bass.

Meanwhile, Eyewitness News caught up with developer Rick Caruso, Bass' main opponent, while he campaigned at downtown L.A.'s Grand Central Market.

He said has relationships in Washington, too, but believes L.A. needs a mayor who knows how to lead.

"This whole idea, 'I'm going to spend time in Washington,' [Bass] has spent a lot of time in Washington. We need to have somebody who really knows this city," said Caruso.

Everyone, including Fudge, agrees the federal government hasn't done enough to help L.A. end homelessness.

Bass said since she now has an administration in Washington willing to work with her, more affordable housing will come our way.

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