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Rep. Maxine Waters urges more shelter for homeless


Addressing recent local storms 

This past month, following eight inches of rain in Los Angeles, Rep. Maxine Waters (CA-43) sent a letter to the Administrator of the Federal Management Agency (FEMA) Deanne Criswell, urging the agency to prioritize people experiencing homelessness following the deadly storms that recently hit Southern California. Waters expressed her concerns regarding the safety and well-being of individuals experiencing homelessness following the devastating storms that struck Southern California. She emphasized the need for FEMA to ensure that people who are experiencing homelessness are prioritized through the agency’s disaster response and recovery efforts.

In a recent press conference, Waters addressed both the local and national housing crisis in noting that, nationwide, there is a shortage of 14 million homes for rent. She said renters and homeowners are spending a greater amount of their income on housing. Meanwhile, some  650,000 Americans are experiencing homelessness on any given day. Since 2019, the federal government has reportedly spent less than 1% of the federal budget on housing. 

Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in eight counties in the wake of deadly storms that hit Southern California, including Los Angeles County due to flooding, hurricane-force winds, and mudslides. This weather has impacted communities from Beverly Hills to Baldwin Hills, and the homeless encampments dotting South Los Angeles. This is especially alarming due to the homelessness crisis as well as the climate crisis that is upon us. There is less focus on the part of FEMA in regard to displaced and homeless people when a climate crisis such as rainfall occurs.

Research demonstrates that renters and those experiencing homelessness are often left behind or receive less assistance. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) launched its Rapid Unsheltered Survivor Housing (RUSH) program allocating $456 million in Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) to help assist at-risk people experiencing homelessness when a major disaster occurs.