January 29, 2018
By one estimate, the number of homeless people living without shelter grew by 9 percent last year. More than half a million Americans experienced homelessness on a given night in 2017, sheltered or out on the streets. This alarming surge comes at a time when the Trump administration is threatening deep budget cuts for housing assistance.
A new coalition launched by Ed Lee, the late mayor of San Francisco, is taking action to address this crisis before it gets any worse. Mayors & CEOs for U.S. Housing Investment aims to boost investment in affordable housing and emergency services for the homeless while giving the federal government a kick in the pants to remind it of its commitments. With 14 mayors from U.S. cities working together with business leaders, the coalition may be the broadest campaign yet to fight the housing crisis.
“Making homelessness rare, brief, and non-reoccurring is a matter of political will,” said Muriel Bowser, mayor of Washington, D.C., where the group convened on Thursday.
The bipartisan coalition, which represents a geographically and demographically diverse range of communities across the country, has partnered with the National League of Cities to pursue its agenda. Members of the coalition spoke at the John and Jill Ker Conway Residence, a new permanent supportive housing facility for formerly homeless veterans and low-income residents in D.C.
The mayors of Los Angeles, Oakland, Denver, Phoenix, and other cities spoke alongside leaders from Airbnb and Sutter Health about efforts to drive more affordable housing in urban, suburban, and rural communities. The coalition has emphasized public–private partnerships (such as the John and Jill Ker Conway Residence) as a way to build new and more deeply affordable housing.