LOS ANGELES – City leaders from across the country are arriving in Los Angeles Wednesday for the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ two-day conference on homelessness.
The two-day visit is meant to coordinate a national strategy to combat the crisis, share successful practices and build national momentum to address the issue.
According to Mayor Karen Bass’ office, guests will arrive throughout Wednesday and gather for an evening discussion on homelessness that is closed to the press. Bass, who serves as the chair of the USCM’s Homelessness Task Force, will lead the meeting alongside Hillary Schieve, Reno mayor and president of the USCM.
“When mayors come together and unite around a common issue that all of our cities are facing, we can make national change,” Bass said in a statement. “Many of our cities are facing similar barriers to moving unhoused people inside and together we will knock those barriers down.”
Bass emphasized that there are consequences “of inaction,” and said confronting homelessness is a matter of “life and death.”
Schieve added, “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.”
American cities are on the “front lines” of addressing the nation’s homelessness crisis, which involve addressing a mental health crisis, too, Schieve said.
On Thursday, mayors are expected to continue their talks, engage with researchers, nonprofit leaders and federal officials, including White House Domestic Policy Advisor Neera Tanden.
Mayors will also tour Skid Row to see the “magnitude of the crisis,” as well as visit the Hilda L. Solis Care First Village to see a “successful example” of eliminating barriers to building temporary housing, officials said.
“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,” Tom Cochran, USCM’s CEO & executive director, said in a statement.
The U.S. Conference of Mayors is the official non-partisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more.