Wave Staff Report
SOUTH LOS ANGELES — U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters got a firsthand look at the area’s homeless problem last week when she paid a visit to a homeless encampment on Vermont Avenue between 92nd and 95th streets.
Waters was accompanied by officials from the housing agencies for the city and county of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority.
“Despite federal funds and local ballot initiatives to address homelessness in our communities, the unhoused population has been growing across the country — including in our own backyard,” Waters said.
She called the encampment she visited was “an absolutely outrageous and unhealthy situation with homeless encampments made of makeshift materials like cardboard and truck tires surrounded by piles of trash and debris that had been worsening for months.”
Waters said a lot of time and effort has been spent addressing the homeless issue, but nothing seems to be getting done.
“Despite the money that I secured for our cities and counties, it is obvious that the systems in place have not worked and it is past time for a review,” she said.
“An interesting idea to review the systems and structures in place to address homelessness has been proposed by Los Angeles County Supervisors Kathryn Barger and Hilda Solis, and I think this a step in the right direction,” she added.
Waters said she has one mission: to get people housed. She said she spent nine hours going tent to tent at the homeless encampment on Vermont and was able to provide each unhoused person with temporary housing or hotel rooms through Project Homekey, a county program.
“We secured their belongings and made a real impact. With all of these entities from the city and county being on site, I received a better understanding of how they can utilize homelessness funds and I am very appreciative of their willingness to join me in my effort,” Waters said.
“As we move forward, I will continue doing all that I can to convene our federal and local partners to ensure adequate action is being taken and that all available funds are used to their full potential to get people off the streets and into homes.”