WCAM Seeks Federal Support to Address Housing Affordability & Homelessness
News Release from City and County of Honolulu March 2, 2016
Mayor Kirk Caldwell is part of the West Coast Alliance of Mayors which issued this press release today:
In an effort to address crises in housing affordability and homelessness in their cities, the West Coast Alliance of Mayors on Wednesday asked federal leaders to increase funding for affordable housing, homeless assistance, and other initiatives by nearly $450 million.
“While we celebrate the economic recovery of the past several years, we recognize that recovery has not benefited everyone equally,” says the letter from mayors of 10 large West Coast cities. “Increasingly, our most vulnerable residents are being left behind, as their incomes remain stagnant while housing prices dramatically increase.”
The West Coast Alliance of Mayors (WCAM) was formed in December 2015 during the first-ever West Coast Mayors Summit. Mayors from Portland, Seattle, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Eugene convened in Portland for two days to discuss pressing issues affecting each of their cities: homelessness, housing affordability, and climate change.
West Coast mayors envisioned WCAM as a bipartisan coalition working to convene, collaborate and share — convening to raise awareness about common issues; collaborating to solve mutual problems; and sharing and implementing best practices. Their first agenda item is elevating the importance of homelessness and housing in their communities and among their federal delegations. Mayors from San Diego, San Jose, Honolulu, Sacramento and Oakland have joined the founding members of the alliance.
On Wednesday, WCAM made specific asks of their federal delegations and the U.S. Congress Appropriations Committee:
- Fully fund President Obama’s Tenant-Based Rental Assistance budget proposal;
- Fully fund President Obama’s proposed Homeless Assistance Grant budget proposal;
- Increase funding for the Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing program by $75 million, and the Supportive Services for Veteran Families program by $200 million over the current appropriation level;
- Increase Community Development Block Grant funding by 20 percent above the current appropriation, to $3.65 billion, and commit to restoring the grant funding to the 2001 appropriation level ($4.4 billion) by 2020;
- Increase HOME Investment Partnerships Program funding by 20 percent above the current appropriation, to $1.14 billion, and commit to restoring HOME to the 2004 appropriation level ($2 billion) by 2020.
The asks continue WCAM’s work pushing for more resources to confront pressing crises. In January, WCAM presented a resolution at the United States Conference of Mayors annual meeting that urged their national colleagues to mobilize, asking the federal government to provide the local tools and necessary funding for cities to address affordable housing crises and support services that prevent and end homelessness.
“We are committed to ensuring that all families in our communities have access to healthy, safe, and affordable housing,” the WCAM mayors say. “Increasing federal funding to rental assistance and affordable housing development is the highest priority of the West Coast Alliance of Mayors. We need the assistance of Congress and the President in order to achieve meaningful impacts in our communities.”
Read the WCAM Joint Appropriation Letter
Read the WCAM resolution at U.S. Conference of Mayors
Read about the creation of West Coast Alliance of Mayors