LA Times: Bass backs Padilla bill to provide billions of dollars in new homelessness funding

By Caroline Petrow-Cohen

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass joined U.S. Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) and local leaders Wednesday to voice support for the reintroduction of a bill that would invest billions of federal dollars in housing and homelessness programs.

The Housing for All Act, which Padilla previously introduced in 2022 and 2023, would funnel money into supportive housing programs for the elderly and disabled, the National Housing Trust Fund, the Housing Choice Vouchers program and other efforts. The bill would also back local approaches to the homelessness crisis including the conversion of motel and hotel rooms into permanent supportive housing and mobile crisis intervention teams for unhoused people.

Reps. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) and Salud Carbajal (D-Santa Barbara) introduced companion legislation in the House. The bill did not reach the president’s desk either time it was previously introduced.

“Housing is a basic human right, not a privilege,” Padilla said Wednesday. “I am reintroducing the Housing for All Act to finally treat the homelessness and affordable housing crises with the seriousness they deserve, and I won’t stop this fight until every person has a place to call home.”

Padilla’s legislation would authorize $14.5 billion for the Project-Based Rental Assistance program, which allows tenants to pay rent based on their income, and an additional $40 million to provide technical assistance to recipients or applicants of the program.

It would also allocate $15 billion to be spent over 10 years on Continuum of Care grants, which provide funding to nonprofit providers and state and local governments tackling homelessness.

Bass praised the bill’s support of national efforts that she said are already making a difference in the fight against homelessness. “This bill would invest in federal programs that have a proven track record,” she said. “The point is, we know how to solve this problem…. This crisis is not going to be solved at one level of government.”

The bill funds programs that aim to address the lack of affordable housing, prevent evictions and support those living on the street. Although the bill failed to progress into law in prior years, Bass said she remains committed to its passage.

“We’re going to continue advocating until it’s on President Biden’s desk for signature,” she said.

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