This week, U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) Executive Director Jeff Olivet met with Congresswoman Nanette Diaz Barragán to discuss homelessness in California’s 44th Congressional District and throughout Los Angeles County.
“To end and prevent homelessness, Congress and USICH must work together,” said Director Olivet. “To that end, I was honored to meet with Congresswoman Barragán to discuss the federal strategic plan and humane solutions for people living in encampments. We must address encampments—but not by clearing, criminalizing, or just bulldozing them away. This issue has to be looked at through the lens of a public health crisis. I look forward to our continued collaboration.”
USICH is working with federal, national, state, and local groups to develop and release a new federal strategic plan this year that addresses the diverse needs of communities across the country. Through more than 80 listening sessions and 1,500 online comments, USICH received input last year from public leaders, providers, advocates, people who have experienced homelessness, and other stakeholders in nearly 650 communities, including Los Angeles County.
Congresswoman Barragán and Director Olivet discussed the recommendations received from members of the Congressional Los Angeles County Delegation and from homeless service providers in her area. Specifically, the pair discussed recommendations surrounding Housing First, trauma-informed care, challenges in the application process for housing, barriers for people with criminal records, and the policymaking role of people who have experienced homelessness.
“The effort to end homelessness with data-driven, compassionate solutions should not be a partisan one,” said Congresswoman Barragán. “No matter whom you vote for, we all need to agree that it is unacceptable to have hundreds of thousands of people living on the street every night. In Los Angeles County alone, more than 66,000 people experience homelessness on a given night, and homelessness disproportionately impacts our communities of color. I look forward to working in Congress to fight for more resources and to be a partner to USICH Director Olivet to end our unprecedented homelessness crisis.”