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Bass travels to Washington, D.C. for conference on homelessness


Long Beach Mayor Rex Richardson also attends

Mayor Karen Bass traveled to Washington D.C. this week today to attend the three-day U.S. Conference of Mayors Winter Meeting, where she will discuss the issue of homelessness and participate in various sessions.

The conference’s 92nd winter meeting will conclude tomorrow when Bass is scheduled to return to Los Angeles.

Conference President and Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve welcomed more than 250 mayors from cities with populations of 30,000 or more from across the nation to discuss challenges facing cities, including mental health, public safety, immigration, housing and homelessness, workforce development and infrastructure investment.

Last year, Schieve appointed Bass as chair of the conference’s Task Force on Homelessness. Bass also serves as a member of the conference’s Advisory Board.

Bass was scheduled to moderate a forum on Wednesday titled “Homelessness: Next Steps,” which will build on a meeting in Los Angeles in November, where mayors suggested several policy initiatives aimed at reducing homelessness.

Among several recommendations from mayors were calls for the federal government to increase housing vouchers, bolstering federal protections from eviction and more emergency rental assistance.

Long Beach Mayor Rex Richardson moderated a discussion Thursday titled, “Bridging the Digital Divide in Our Cities With BEAD,” referring to the Broadband Equity Access and Deployment Program, which provides federal funding to expand high-speed internet access. Richardson also spoke during a session on affordable housing and celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Community Development Block Grant.

The meeting will also feature appearances by high-ranking Biden administration officials, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, and congressional leaders.

This is the second consecutive week that Bass traveled out of the state. She went to Dallas to attend the funeral of former Rep. Eddie Bernie Johnson on Jan. 9. Johnson served in the House for 30 years, including nearly 12 years with Bass, was the first nurse to serve in Congress, and first woman and African-American to chair the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.

Mayors from 15 other cities in Los Angeles County were expected to attend the conference in addition to Bass and Richardson, along with three from Orange County, according to organizers.