tv House Financial Services Hearing on Homelessness - Part 2 CSPAN September 13, 2019 1:43pm-3:01pm EDT
battle it out in tullahoma. and also, the lawsuit brought against the holocaust deniers. >> that is plan. no plan. no 6 million. no leadership from hitler and no gas chambers and the last point is that it is all made up by u jews. >> and then a discussion of shakespeare on politics. and then at 6:00 on the artifacts of the traveling norman rockwell's exhibit. explore the nation's past every weekend on c-span3 on american history tv. the house financial services committee went to the los angeles metro area to learn about homelessness and the impact on a national level n.
this portion, local community and homelessness prevention advocates talked about the causes of homelessness in their area, and what they need. the audio issues in the start will go away shortly. >> our second panel includes mr. tim watkins, president and chief executive officer, watt community action committee, and mr. joe foyer, the local support corporation, becky dennison, executive director dennis community housing, anthony hayes, speak up, advocate
corporation for support of housing, erica hartman, and chief program officer downtown women's center, and chancellor of alman corps, and executive director of the housing center. alma vizcaino, downtown speaker of the violence against women and services center, and also, the chief and executive community leader of friends, and without objection, your written statements will be part of the record. each of you will have five minutes to summarize your testimony, and i will give you a signal by tapping the gavel lightly when one minute remains and at that time, i would ask you the wrap up the testimony so that we can be respectful of the witnesses and the committee members' time. and mr. watkins, you are recognized for five minutes to present your oral testimony.
>> thank you, and i won't spend too much time saying what an honor it is to be here, but i really appreciate your work and always have on all fronts. having been here for 66 years, always being a boy of watts and born and raised in watts, i have been blessed to be around the watts labor union action committee in its lifetime as my father was a founder 54 years ago, and you will get to see a lot in 54 years. but as an organization that has consistently and constantly and without interruption provided service and helped to support the underdog in society, i'd say that today, maybe i'm here to represent the brothers on the ground floor. i don't know if you have ever heard that term, but in watts, there is a network of people who live under people's houses that
have razed foundations. they live there with the cooperation of theor the renter and they bump around at night, and nobody is alarmed, but they are allowed to subsist in the basement, and not the basement, but the foundation space of those homes. we have seen over 54 years, we have seen yorty, and mayor riord riordan, and mayor braun and mayor garcetti and others who have talked about the broken promises of the past, and maybe this time, we will see a promise kept, but over the 54 years, we have seen a trail of broken promises. the waoc was around when across the country, mental health institutions were being shutdown, and we saw the earliest evidence of homelessness in watts when
people had nowhere to go and we started to survey homeless populations before there was a response to south central los angeles, and we have been serving since. i think that it is important to recognize that although we made the powerful steps early on, lasa has been at the forefront of providing i guess that you would stay mainstream of the service for funding, and the support and the services that homeless people need, but it is just not enough. we are all here maybe even some of you, you know, because i remember some recent congresspeople who were just a check or two away from homelessness themselves. so it is important for you to realize that in this audience, lots of us are just a couple of checks away from being homeless. perhaps, you know, along with what we do with homelessness, we
think about the problem of poor public policy and poverty and what that means, because we keep talking about poverty as though that is the problem, when poverty is but a symptom of poor public policy and what drives us into these conditions that are not easy to sustain, and yet, we find ourselves with less than self-sufficiency, and certainly with less than self-determining, and we are watching the descendents of people who up until 1865, they could get what they want and still do, and here we are hundreds of years later, and still just trying to find that so-called level playing field there. is no level playing field. the playing field is full of empty gold mines, diamond mines, water holes and oil wells and you name it. we look for the scraps on the surface, and every night, it is disparaging for the people in my community to get disparaged and treat them as subhuman, because they have the nobility to go through our trash. they dig through our trash to
find recyclables and line up as if they should be carved up getting pennies on the dollar as if that is for, how do we prevent the problem in as many ways as we can that are not the traditional ways. we'll talk -- we'll talk and we'll talk about hundreds of millions of billions of dollars, but it takes too long to get the help that people need. when you think about public policy versus poverty and how this all happened, how much of it is by design? why does someone have to be homeless for a year before they can qualify for service? maybe their condition doesn't allow them to survive a year of waiting. how many of our people can stand the product of geopolitical injure ma gerrymandering in our community?
it's very difficult to get the kind of representation that we need that is watch specific. what are the impediments? certainly we've got persecution, human blight, transitional housing that's been torn down only to be replaced by transitional housing. we've got a lot of resources, and i'd like to talk about that in the follow up if possible. >> thank you very much. thank you. you are now recognized for five minutes to present your oral testimony. >> thank you. chair waters and members of the committee, i'm a program vice president for the local initiative support corporation established in 1979, listed as a national non-profit dedicated to helping community residents transform neighborhoods into communities of choice and opportunity. we provide local community development organizes with loans, grants and equity
investments as well as technical and management assistance. we have a national footprint with local offices in 35 cities and a program. we invest approximately $1.6 billion each year in these communities. we've developed more than 11,000 units of affordable housing in the region with community partners. more than $37 million in investments with affordable housing community developments have been made in california's 43rd district alone. our l.a. team is deeply embedded in community based efforts to provide assistance to those experiencing homelessness or are in need of affordable housing. and how non-profit organizations and others can improve their lives. i'd like to focus my time on what's needed to address this
issue. first, this country has to be committed if we want to end homelessness and these efforts must be supported through sufficient funding resources. our nation's commitment to reducing chronic veteran homelessness has resulted in declines. huds continuing care provides the main resources and incentivizes local cocs approaches. pleased to support represent waters ending homeless act of 2019. this bill would increase the assistant grant resources for new permanent supportive housing, authorize additional resources for special purpose housing choice vouchers, increase national housing trust fund funding, authorize funding for outreach to homeless people, and better integrate affordable housing and health care
activity. this bill recognizes the resources the federal government has to provide if our country is going to continue to make advances in reducing homelessness. now it's worked since its conception to provide assistance to providers. we provide grants to organizational capacity and one of the most important federal capacity building tools we utilize for this work is hud sections for capacity building program. it helps non-profit one for example people assisting it homeless to develop west carson villas. this development consists of 110 units, 55 which are reserved for formerly homeless residents. also provides financing for affordable housing development and we typically use low income housing tax exwitty. the housing credit is the
nation -- our subsaidiary is on of the largest non-profit sipdicators and using housing credits to finance supportive housing for people experiencing homelessness. cmf is a competitive housing award administered by the treasury department which can be used flexibly and non-profit developers for affordable rental housing for poorhouse holds. an example of the impact cmf and the housing credit is recent support for the irma family campus. once a homeless shelter operating as a former motel, it completed its transformation into a campus that offered health, housing and other services in san fernando valley.
targeting chronically homeless single adults. they invested nearly $13.6 million in a $27 million project. the history of supporting affordable housing projects for those experiencing homelessness has shown us progress can be made when resources are made available to address need. we urge congress to adequately fund and support federal housing assistance and tax programs and to support programs that build the capacity of non-profit organizations serving these communities. thank you for the opportunity to testify and i look forward to working with you and your staff on ways to end the homeless crisis here in l.a. thank you. >> thank you very much. and now we will hear from ms.
dennison. >> good morning to everyone. i'm with venice community housing. we own and operate affordable community husing focused on ensuring inclusive communities on l.a.'s west side. for over 30 years we've been providing housing and support to those in need and we are currently building new supportive housing in venice which is home to about 1,000 unhoused residents. we're also active in community organizing and advocacy efforts that promote the rights of tenants and unhoused residents. we simply as everyone said need vastly more resources to produce extremely low income and supportive housing. so affordability matters in production. we can't just produce and expect the results to trickle down. the federal budget for affordable housing was cut by 80% in the '80s and as we notice we continue to see cuts chipping
away at it. and locally production is nowhere near the documented need. in the last housing element incity projected to produce 75% of its housing need but only 17% of the extremely low income housing need. so with the largest production gaps at the lowest income levels and overproducing luxury housing homelessness continues at crisis levels in l.a. l.a. has also produced supportive housing and the ballot initiatives that people have discussed are incredibly important and will do good work. but are a drop in the bucket in the overall need. we need the city and county and the state to create permanent and sustained resources, and we need the federal government to supplement those resources. most specifically we need to increase rental subsidy as people have said. right now we're making decisions in the scarcity environment. we have to balance the need for new supportive housing, affordable housing, tenant housing choice vouchers within
this limited pool of subsidy. and there's just nowhere near enough to cover even a portion of all of those needs. the federal government must also help us address the issue of underproduction of extremely low income housing because while the tax credit program is incredibly important, it just is not designed to produce extremely low income housing, and then therefore that's where we see our biggest gap. yon housing production, we must put more effort into the prevention of homelessness and the preservation of all affordable rent stabilized and other subsidized represental housing must be prioritized. and while these are largely issues at the local and state level and our local government and state government must make preservation more of a priority, we also do need targeted federal investment to make this a comprehensive effort. prevention of homelessness also requires increased tenant protections and proactive enforcement of those protections. tenants too far regularly face
unjust and illegal eviction and other force displacement. and again some of these challenges and solutions are focused on state and local issues and our states government has some local policies pending, but the federal government can help ensure proactive enforcement of tenant protections, and then the prevention of any policy that would produce displacement such as the proposed policy that was also discussed. government eptintities must als eliminate the overrepresentation of black people experiencing homelessness. los angeles has studied this recently and has a report and recommendation that mr. lin discussed that really look at the long history of institutional racism and further exploration of that from this committee is recommended. and lastly, l.a. must end the criminalization of homelessness. this is an area where l.a. has
been uniquely horrible in its efforts. without creating any significant housing alternative l.a. has invested incredible financial and political resources in policies explicitly intended to criminalize homelessness and other initiatives that result in harassment and forced displacement among homeless residents. these lengthen the time people remain homeless and discriminate against people for their current unhoused status. this simply must end and be replaced with health based street based interventions until l.a. provides housing for all in need. in closing we know l.a. and california must enact substantial new policies and funding that focus on production at the lowest income levels and homeless prevention as well as eliminate harmful policies. but l.a. and all regional
efforts cannot succeed without more investment at the federal level. it reflects a significant step forward and additional efforts will be needed to solve this crisis. thank you. >> thank you. now i would like to ask mr. hanes to give his testimony. you are now recognized for five minutes to present that testimony. >> good afternoon. my name is anthony hanes and i'm a csa speak up advocate. i grew up in an average middle class community with six siblings and a mother and a father in a home. and they -- my mother and father used to shelter me from what was around the corner until one day i found out what was around the corner and i became an alcoholic. i became a functioning alcoholic. over the years my disease got worse, but i was still able to find a job, keep an apartment
until i could no longer work suffering from mental health issues. until i found myself ten years of homelessness, i ended up on skid row, and i'd go to jail for one year, exactly one year for possession of marijuana. and when i got out of jail, i knew i needed something different. i knew i wanted to do something different with my life. so with that year clean from alcohol and drugs, i got on a wait list and it took a long time for me to get permanent supportive housing. but when i finally got in, it made a big difference in my life. supportive housing is very important. not only just housing a person but with the wrap around services. with the case manager on site,
the therapist, psychiatrist right at my disposal. it took me a long time to find my work. you know, they had so many groups to offer, art group, journal group until i ended up doing a knitting group. and coming from the streets i'm like i'm not fitting to sit in a circle and share my feelings. so i took a knitting group for exactly one year. and in the group they sat a watched oprah and knitted. so after one year i never learned to knit, but i sat with a group of women that helped me regain who i am, you know? it gave me so much perspective on life and showed me a different way that i can go and to grow.
so it was so important for me to have the groups and saying that the housing is important but more important is the wraparound services that come with it, people that's going to be there for when you need them. given housing is important but now that you're housed you have to learn to live with yourself, and how do i do that sober? you know, it was a big challenge. you know, depression sets in. but a long story short, i continue to work on myself, i continue to take advantage of what was offered to me to help within the supportive system and with that, they watched me grow. and i am now a pure advocate manager for skid row advocate trust. i moved into one of their buildings and now i get to be an advocate for the future residents and help them
understand what it's going to feel like once you move into your own apartment by yourself. you're going to feel lonely, and a lot of us resort back to what we used to know are old friends in drugs and alcohol. you don't have to go back. we're going to build a new bridge, build new friends and go a new way. and so now i walk the potential residents, i help them navigate all the resources that's at their disposal within the community. and cites so important that they know it's that it's out there for them. a lot of stuff is offered to them, but it's just half the time it's stuff they don't need or can't use. everything offered is not for every individual. so i just want to thank you for coming out and listening to what we have to say. >> and i want to thank you. thank you very much, mr. hanes. ms. hartman you're now
recognized for five minutes to present your testimony. >> good afternoon. i'm the chief program officer of the downtown womens center. for more than 40 years we've been providing housing services to the women of skid row in los angeles. in recent years we've seen homelessness rise to unprecedented levels and in the last year the number of women grew to 18,337 individual women. homelessness among women is increasing nationally as well and on any given night 216,211 women are experiencing homelessness in this country. women comprise 39% of the individuals experiencing homelessness, and 49% of those are unaccompanied women. the downtown womens center exists because we recognize that women are a unique subpopulation experiencing homelessness.
for this reason we of course advocate for hud to continue to recognize women as a unique subpopulation, specifically unaccompanied women. they are four times more likely to be conically homeless and for this reason need resources to serve them. at the downtown womens center we serve anyone who identifies as female. 90% of women residing in skid row have experienced some form of violence in their lifetime and for this reason we're advocating for hr 6545 and for
the release of additional dollars for the victims crime relief act fund. we ask for support in advancing hr-2398. 64% of women experiencing homelessness in los angeles county are unsheltered and unsheltered women remain withst housing for 14 to 16 years. women who are unsheltered age close to 20 years faster and between 2014 and 2018 in los angeles the number of deaths among homeless women more than doubled. while the life expectancy for women is typically longer than for men, for homeless women it is shorter. the average age of death for women experiencing homelessness is 48. it is crucial that hr-1948
receives necessary support and we hope to see more house members cosponsor hr-3272. in los angeles economic hardship is the cause of 63% of homelessness while income has gone down by 3%. income and equity bears especially hard on women who continues to make only 79 cents for each dollar earned. with an unemployment rate of 43.6%, almost 10% higher than any other demographic. women also compromise a significant portion of single parent households. we support hr-2763. homelessness is a matter of resources and for that reason
the investment of hr-1856 would significantly increase the likelihood that organizations would have the opportunity to get ahead of the curve in meeting the needs and ensure focus is maintained on ending the homeless crisis, protect our progress and help us gain more ground through mandatory spending. thank you, congresswoman waters, for introducing this legislation and your support of this bill. >> thank you very much, ms. hartman. you're now recognized for five minutes to present your oral testimony. >> good afternoon. thank you madam chairwoman, and thank you other respected members of congress for allowing this opportunity to speak with you today. i'm the executive director of the housing rights center i'm on the board of the california alliance coalition as well.
in 1993 i was here and a similar hearing was held in los angeles and members came here to determine what was the reason for the civil unrest, what was the reason for the lack of income and housing and so forth in south los angeles. and we talked about poverty, racism, lack of access to credit, no banks. we talked about no grocery stores, no jobs. and one thing we didn't really highlight was homelessness. here we are 26 years later and the main issue we're facing is homelessness caused by all of those things. financing and promoting red lining which was the denial of homeownership and home improvement loans to black and other racially targeted groups created racially segregated and this created the urban blight that depreciated the value of black owned homes that today for made those neighborhoods ripe
for gentrification. all experiencing esh treme displacement of black and brown and low income asian communities. and for those fortunate groups able to purchase their homes and own their own homes, when they pass away their home is often sold. those families will never be able to come back into los angeles. also just the attack on black owned homes in general, the lack of access to credit and the targeting has created the circumstance in which we see now in which black homeownership has been devastated in los angeles. and we talk about big mamas home was the refuge, it was the place where people who had been evictled, maybe they'd been formerly incarcerated, lacked
housing, those children could go to big mama's housing to live. so many of our community members don't have that place of refuge to go to. and also i want to identify that the prevalence of housing disi'mination and the devastating effects are also causes of our homelessness crisis. while race discrimination is highly reported not necessarily by tenants but we find it in our investigation because oftentimes people don't know they've been discriminated against because of race. i thank congressman al green for his letter supporting the housing act and fair initiatives funding. the program must be fully funded and we're asking for at least $52 million in funding which september that much considering it goes to organizations all over the country to combat
housing discrimination. more than 50% of the complaints that filed with thussing rights center are based on discrimination of people with disability. and it's being challenged and targeted by this current administration. hud has a initiative planning to weaken by making a case using the impact theory which maintains a facially neutral policy when applied can have a district impact upon a particular group because of their membership. banks and insurance groups are leading the charge to dismantel this important fair housing protection, so we ask in all ways the use of this theory be protected. also huds equal access real must be reinstated as well.
i also ask that we preserve the community reinvistment act. a way this committee and other federal agencies can departments can address the homelessness crisis is to strengthen the community investment act. a recent survey found that over $27 billion in 2016 came to low income communities. hud approved an agreement a couple weeks ago that settled the los angeles red lining case against one west bank, that was a case filed by the california coalition for hud. they had over 60 retail bank branches in los angeles and southern california. not one of those was located in a community of color. the cra exam also must be strengthened and consider fair lending law violations.
finally we must have a right to counsel to protect tenants. >> thank you very much. you're now recognized for five minutes to present your oral testimony. >> good morning, everyone. good morning. i thank you so much for taking -- listening to my experience. i'm here today to bring some light and statistics you will hear about the impact on homeless women. what is troubling me is that i was one of 216,000 women experiencing homelessness across the nation. in los angeles among both sheltered and unsheltered approximately half experience
domestic violence. of course please keep in mind this is a count of women that felt comfortable sharing that they have experienced domestic violence. due to the stigma surrounding domestic violence we know that this is an undercounted experience. this was the case for me. i did not acknowledge that i had experienced domestic violence until just two years ago when i was sitting in a mental health support group at the downtown womens center, and a local non-profit that supports women with housing and health care. i swept it under the rug for a long time. there was never a good time to talk about it. so i didn't. consequently i have experienced periods of homelessness, mental health problems related to the impact of trauma and chronic health conditions like diabetes as a result of my hardships.
i was born in tijuana, raised as a toddler in south central. at an early age i started running away from a home of alcoholism and depression. that impacted my ability to stay housed. my life was filled with struggle. the depression ended in having many unhealthy relationships, domestic violence and many women are ashamed and do not admit to control and abuse that they suffer. and some find it hard to get help that they need. when i first reached out for help at a shelter in the '80s with my two kids it didn't really work. all of the shelter staff were white. there are no hispanics or blacks, and that was really weird for me because i grew up in south central.
and we ended up leaving the shelter because it was just awkward. i did ultimately find help that i needed through a domestic violence shelter. after our stay there my kids and i lived through housing through section 8 they gave us, and we lived for 20 years with section 8. i also became a board member and found fulfillment in giving back in that way. for many years we felt safe and my family thrived, my kids were doing well in school and carried a few jobs. we were comfortable and we did not have to move around or fear facing evictions. but then my building was sold and i couldn't find another rental -- owners to represent to me with my voucher. so i ended back in south central, and it was very
different. just in the same city but south central, it was day and night. but i put my kids in private school through scholarships, but we couldn't escape the violence, the gang related violence also in the neighborhood. and we were evicted because of a shooting and my children and i just had to go -- everyone had to go wherever they could. we didn't have a plan, we didn't have nothing. so i now live in a single room occupancy in skid row community, and i love skid row. it looks very bad and it stinks, but there's so much good also going on in it, and i really love it. and so when i got the room i thought now i can apply myself to do my goals and all that, and i ended up very more depressed
than when i was homeless. it was so hard to adjust to now i'm in a room and now i have a place. but my mind, it wasn't able to focus, you know, properly. anyways, i needed more support to heal from my trauma and i'm in the process right now of that. the supports that most affected me helped me were the shelters, the ministries and individuals that came through skid row just to be nice and good to the people, that really touched my heart and that really helped. i'm now at a job with the downtown womens center, a training calls l.a. rights where i am a support staff at a social enterprise. and look forward to graduating the program. congress should take many steps
to end homelessness and prevent violence against women including ensure that the hud budget -- >> thank you. ms. gallow, you're recognized for five minutes. >> madam chair and members of the committee and the l.a. congressional representatives here today, i appreciate the opportunity to give my testimony to the financial services committee. i'm the president and ceo of a community of friends, we're a non-profit community based development corporation who have a very specific focus of ending homelessness for people with mental illness. began 30 years our organization has begun supportive housing long before this particular term was created. by creating affordable housing and services we have ended homelessness for thousands. in the 30 years we've been around we've created 50 apartment buildings throughout los angeles and orange county
including two in san diego. we have one building in representative waters' district, three in representative barragon's district. and 12 in representative gomez's district. currently we house 2,500 adults including over 600 children. people who have a chronic disability such as mental health or addiction have always been particularly vulnerable to losing housing. they need extensive help and services to exit homelessness. these are the people we serve. as some you noted the repeat explosion of homelessness in l.a. county is not caused by an increase of the number of people with chronic disabilities. many people are falling into homelessness due the extreme lack of affordable housing in los angeles. stagnant wages, rising rents and decades of disinvestment in
affordable housing have enabled a heated real estate market to cause havocen our supply. the median monthly asking rent in los angeles is now 2,471 so that means renters in l.a. need to earn $47 per hour to afford rent. the supply of affordable renting housing is also not keeping pace with demand. repeat studies shows l.a. needs over 516,000 affordable representing units in order to meet demand. the city of los angeles permitted 29,000 homes but only 2,900 of them were aforeable. there are only 18 affordable and veil rental homes for every
1,000 renting homes. supportive housing combined with a harm reduction approach is the most effective tool to keep people from disabilities into cycling back into homelessness. no matter where in the community our buildings are are lectocatee have found people can begin focusing on those other issues that led to their homelessness. providing the level of support and services needed to end homelessness for people who have been in the streets for years require sustained and long-term commitment. investments in federal programs must continue if homelessness is truly to be eradicated. so we agree with chairwoman waters that it's difficult to make significant progress towards ending homelessness in l.a. without substantial new funding. the citizens of l.a. have done our part by voting to tax ourselves to provide the resources needed. we need congress to take action as well. we commend chairwoman waters for
introducing hr-1856 to ending homelessness. the $1 billion proposed with eboo a significant investment towards this crisis. in addition to homeless programs congress should continue increasing capital investments to preserve and rehab homes for people with affordable income. we also support efforts to expand the long-term housing tax credit. we urge congress to support hr-3777 and we urge congress to continue project base and rental assessments and i want to conclude my remarks by saying that despite the challenges and the scale of the problem there is hope. l.a. has a strong community of non-profit organizations, public officials, business leaders and
private citizens with the passion, skill and commitment to end homelessness. patterning with our congressional leaders we know we can do this. we don't have a choice. thank you, chairwoman for holding this hearing. >> thank you very much, ms. gallow. i'm going to recognize myself for five minutes for questions. but before i do i would like to give special recognition to ms. desmond who's the president of -- and thank for all the work it's doing for developing low income housing. thank you very much. and i did mention the veterans but the executive director in my district doing a fabulous job. thank you very much for being here. i see the yellow t-shirts are here today. that's ace, alliance of
california for community empowerment is here. thank you very much, ace. and susan burton, a new way of life that is transitioning women from incarceration into our communities. thank you so much very, very much. thanks to all of you. mr. watkins, of course i know wlc very well. my career has been developed along with the long time services that have been presented by wlcac, and i thank you for your leadership. i worked with your father. so you know i know all that you have contributed. and i'm very pleased to hear about even another housing complex you have developed. i have cut ribbons for you and that organization more than once. and i congratulate you one more time on a project providing
housing opportunity for those who certainly would not get in but for an organization like yours. you mentioned it is something sometimes with public policy that creates homelessness and a lack of opportunity, and i agree with you on that. and i wanted to ask you if in fact being located right adjacent to and surrounded by nickerson gardens, superior courts and a number of the public housing projects also there, have you witness those who have been evicted from public housing because of failed policy that we have in federal government that evicts families sometimes because one member of the family may have gotten into a problem of some kind trying to
return back from incarceration, et cetera. are you familiar with that policy? >> absolutely. and to my chagrin sometimes families in multiple are evicted summarily and there isn't any clear explanation. there's an article in either popular science or popular mechanics. i believe it's popular science where some of their writers went along with lapd one night to witness the effectiveness of shock and awe tactics and they used explosive devices and bright light to wake families in the middle of the night and summarily evicted 44 families in one night in nickerson gardens. despite my efforts the only source of news on that subject that i was able to find was in that article. and, you know, that's one example. i hear too many stories about
people being evicted because their child visited them without a permit to park oevernight or the child got into trouble. here's the thing, if you're living in the lowest most affordable -- for me affordable housing if you're a billionaire, affordable housing means something different than if you are are of the lowest income group. so the lowest affordable housing is what i consider public housing to be. and when you get evicted from that, i know there is nowhere to go. you'll recall that i talked to you a number of times about who makes up the population downtown. it would be very interesting to find out how the population is made up of people that have been evicted from the most affordable low income housing. >> and what about an attempt to keep people from sleeping in their cars who have no place
else to sleep and taking peoples possessions on the street? are you familiar with those policies and what it does to those who have no place else to go and no place to keep their possessions? >> and so i get criticized because i allow small groups of homeless to live on public property that we own. i get criticized internally and externally because my risk manager says this is liability-prone, you know, policy to allow this. i allow people to come in and freely use showers. we be showers that are available to the general public and they come in at all hours of the night where we don't lock our compound overnight. but i get -- but i do get criticized for it because after all it isn't legal to allow people to live on a vacant lot.
meanwhile i'm trying to break ground on a 46-unit compound just in compton on 126 and compton avenue, compton boulevard. and we've been waiting for months to just get out of the planning process. we get promised week over -- i just got a message here today we're being told it'll be another week before we get the sign-off on it plans. yet we've been in there sense march. and this happens all the time with the process, although i grant that it's necessary. it's far from streamlined. it's anything but streamlined. >> i want to thank you very much, and i want you to know i was at a town hall meeting recently where i advised the county that you are feeding people the hot lunch program, our seniors, and they're wandering in from all over and
sleeping on the ground all over the city but they're wandering in to be fed. so i'm coming out with some representatives from the county so that we can get these seniors off the streets who you're feeding in addition to all the other stuff that you're doing. >> yes, thank you. >> the chair recognizes representative brad sherman again from the 30th district of california. >> thank you, madam chair. and i want to thank you for holding these hearings in my district and throughout los angeles. homelessness is the number one problem i hear about. the federal government has to do more as far as resources. we have to be more efficient in how we spend them. but these hearings will also hopefully shine a light on vocal polies that cause rents to be so much higher in los angeles than they are in so many cities around the country.
the rents are too damn high but also the wages are too damn low. we are told that there's low unemployment rate, but i won't be satisfied until i have a bunch of guys, it's always guys in thousand dollar suits blockading my office and using tactics some here may occasionally use saying oh, my god, we can't find enough workers. and my response would be have you tried raising the wages. and wages have barely kept up with inflation, and they've never kept up with the inflation and the cost of housing in metropolitan areas. one issue that comes up, and this could be controversial is how much, how large should a unit be. in europe and in japan, each
person even middle class and wealthy people get -- have smaller units per the number of people living there. if it was our option and our choice we would want to provide every homeless person, every housing endangered person with a traditional american mini mansion or as many square foot as we could. but i'll ask first ms. gallow but maybe mr. watkins would comment are we being prevented from building units. the japanese have beenfore runners how to make people comfortable in less square footage. is that even legal? >> excuse me, it is actually legal. the building codes actually are
quite lenient as it relates to size of a particular apartment that is eligible to be occupied. so i will tell you that the building codes require 70 square feet per person, and 120 feet -- i'm sorry, 120 feet so it can be small. and that's one reason you've seen some cities promoting microunits, what we call studios, 325 square feet. what i would caution, though, is to make sure that whatever size unit weir proposing that is appropriate for the people living in there for long-term sustainability. if it's too small, someone gets stable in-housing overtime, they will start to accumulate things and they'll become dissatisfied with the size of their apartment. so it does require thought but it can be done. >> has anyone else had
difficulties being able to sign a unit? i know there are neighborhoods in this country if you try to put more than four houses on an acre the enemies rise up. >> certainly planning and housing policy demands that and you all know about this ada compliance. ada compliance oftentimes makes a project near impossible to plan complete. but more often than not it's all of the provisions for square footage within a certain footprint of land. and we've been trying to put forth a project to build 1 thoin single occupancy units. we're not sure how far we're going to get, but we think that would be a good response for people coming out of homelessness by way of incarceration. we're planning that as we speak. i don't know if i answered your question. those are going to be small
units, single occupancy. >> i have 40 seconds. i yield back. >> thank you very much. the chair now recognizes gent gentlelady from california. >> first of all i want to start by thanking ms. gallow for your work in my district. mr. watkins, since the first day that i was a member of congress i reached out and we had an opportunity to talk, and i've learned a lot about the work you're doing in watts and in the greater community. i want to thank you for that work. we've actually done a number of events at the community where you have your location. i want to talk a little bit about seniors that are experiencing homelessness.
you know, the rising housing costs compounded by insufficient retirement income and lives calamities are driving more seniors into los angeles streets. in l.a. county alone senior homelessness spiked 22% in 2018. nationally only 1 of every 3 seniors is eligible for housing assistance because housing programs receive inadequate funding to meet the existing growing need. can you talk a little bit about what unique needs do older adults have from your experience and how well it is that the homeless services system setup to help them can help set them so they can get out of homelessness quickly, and maybe sure some feedback for us on what congress can be doing to help the situation to better serve this population. >> well, so we are one of the largest senior service providers
in the county, in the city. and we have -- i don't just say this to blow smoke -- we have the best crew, the best staff, the best leadership for that work and my director is an absolute expert that's putting input, policy input to the city and county of los angeles on how we should deal with not only the problem of senior homelessness but seniors that can't get into our places because they're raising children. oftentimes they have second, third generation children that they're responsible for and can't get out to get the services we provide. so we'll go to them. but i think the single largest impediment to the seniors with the services available is information, information that makes them aware of what the possibilities are. where do they go, what do they
ask for, what can they ask for? and, you know, that number is so much largen than the number that we actually serve. i have to think that that's at least the underbelly or part of that beast. >> right. the other thing i want to touch quickly on i know you're doing a lot of work on this. can you share some of what you're doing in the community to make sure the homeless population will be counted in the census because we know that can have a disastrous impact on funding for services and programs. can we talk about what you're doing in the community maybe we can all hear about and learn about? >> certainly as i said we're building low income affordable housing. when i say low income i mean very low income. we've been very low income affordable housing providers for 54 years with nearly 1,000 units within five units of our headquarters in watts. i said we want to build a
thousand single occupancy units, but we've got hundreds more that now need to be rebuilt, that need to be rehabbed. and the problem with doing that, again, is the bureaucratic process and what it costs to make a project work. but as far as what we're doing to address the problem, i know this afternoon i have a meeting with the gentleman that specializes in container housing. and when we thought about doing container housing 15 years ago we were told it would never make it past city council because it appears its warehousing human beings. we think that container housing is a solution that gentleman congressman spoke about when he talked about small spaces. container housing can be affordable. it can be completely comfortable with built in furnishing. it can be made available to people, you know, in large numbers without needing to build it into the ground.
>> do you want to comment on the census, to making sure everybody counts and the homeless population county for the census? >> yes, every year we participate in that in our site as a hub where literally i don't know 80, 90 people go out into the community and count. they have to be very adept at getting into the freeway underpasses, the canals and as i mentioned earlier who's living under someone's home. it's a difficult proposition but also made more difficult with the current administrative policy of targeting people that have, you know, questionable documentation. and that hurts us -- that hurts watts tremendously. for a community that's 75% hispanic, latino, we don't -- we can't even fathom what's going
to happen when people that just refuse to be counted are left out of the congressional distribution of resources. >> thank you for your work and i yield back. >> thank you. ladies and gentlemen, the mayor of the city of los angeles has arrived. we're going to continue with our last two questioners, our members of congress, and then some of the discussion that's been going on about what is happening in the city i think will be addressed in the mayor's testimony. so mr. mayor, we just have two more members who will be asking questions, and then you're on. thank you very much. and now the gentlewoman from texas -- the gentleman, rather from texas, mr. green, will question for five minutes. >> thank you, madam chair. i am to a certain extent grateful that i was born into
poverty. and i say this because for a good deal of my life i saw life from the bottom up as opposed to the top down. and when you see life from the bottom up, you learn what the true meaning of but for the grace of god there go i. i arrived early enough to visit what's known as skid row. i find that name distasteful, by the way. but i visited skid row, and i will tell you that people who talk about this problem based upon what we have read cannot truly appreciate the human tragedy unless you see what's
happening on what we call skid row. it was my misfortune and the misfortune of at least one person for me to be there today because i literally passed a person who had died on the street. i'm told this is not an unusual occurrence in that it doesn't happen all the time, but it happens too often. i saw people who were homeless but also you could sense the hopelessness. you could sense the sense of society has abandoned me it really is a human tragedy of the
highest magnitude and i appreciate what all of you are trying to do to resolve and help us. i appreciate what the city's trying to do. i appreciate the county. but in the final analysis we have to get more people involved who understand but for the grace of god there go i. unfortunately, mr. watkins, we have a person at the highest office in this land who in my opinion does not appreciate but for the grace of god there go i. i think that if i could have a wish that would not cause me to find my way to the gates of hell, it would be that the president could live one day on
skid row. i think he would have a different appreciation for the human tragedy that he as he as commander-in-chief should have a greater sense of responsibility for aiding and assisting and resolving. so, i thank you. i wanted to let you know that i appreciate you, all of you for what you're doing. now, miss, you mentioned testing. explain, again -- you explained to a limited extent how important this is in dealing with discrimination, because it is much more pervasive than a good many people would think, because if you live your life from the top down, you don't see
all of the suffering that we who have seen it from the bottom up can appreciate. would you kindly explain testing again? >> yes. so testing is basically an undercover measure that fair housing organizations use to determine if there's evidence to show that there was any discrimination in applying for a rental unit or applying for a home or home loan. in los angeles we do primarily rental testing at the housing rights center. for somebody who is disabled or elderly, maybe have children, oftentimes they know they have been discriminated against when they applied for an apartment. they ask for a caregiver or a support animal or a change in rules. maybe they get their social security on the 3rd and the rent is due on 1st. it's very obvious that discrimination, very obvious when a family are told your children can't play outside, you will be evicted if your children come outside and make too much noise. race discrimination isn't so
obvious. most families don't say i don't want you because you're black or latino. often an applicant doesn't know they are being discriminated. we send similarly situated people in different categories, be race, sexual orientation, a lot of different categories to go apply for that apartment and leapt us know how much were you told the rent would be. were you given an incentive. it's very prevalent. most people don't know they were discriminated against. >> thank you. i'll yield back the balance of my time. >> the chair now recognizes the gentle woman from texas, miss garcia. >> thank you, madam chair. i'm so appreciative of your efforts to have this hearing and to bring a great panel together that are direct providers on the ground. while i regret i won't be able to spend the afternoon with some of you to see some of your problems, i truly appreciate all the work you're doing. and when i listen to my
colleague from houston, talk about growing up from the bottom up, it kind of remind me of some of my own story, and, you know, people have often asked me, you know, how did it feel growing up poor? and i just simply tell them, felt great, i didn't know any better. but i'm glad the that you all are the there working with people to make sure that you can give them some inspiration, work with them so that they can each feel their comfort zone and feel their comfort level of what space they need in terms of housing. because, obviously, we know that some folks don't want to be pushed into a house, don't want to be pushed underneath that house. there's a certain level of making sure that we know what the individual needs and wants. so for those of you that mr. haynes, first of all, thank you for sharing your story.
so when you look at this issue, what is your best advice to someone about transition means and, you know, how do you approach them? what can we learn from you who has transitioned in terms of helping others to transition. >> um, the most important thing is to really listen to what they are saying. we might ask them a question but we won't really listen to tans, we're just going tell them this is what we have. and expect them to make do with what's being offered. when it's really not what they need. >> we need to let them make their own choices. >> yes. thank you for that. and you mentioned the domestic violence and situations of women and you mentioned some about
veterans. i know from some of my work in texas on the veterans committee in the state senate that there are more minority women black and brown that are going into the service than ever before. so what specific needs or challenges do we have for that population that we need to try to be mindful of as we consider the funding challenges not only locally but federally? >> that's a good question. i'm not sure what the answer is to that. just have more hearings and meetings, and let it be brought to the table, the specific needs of the women. because it's not like a generalized thing. you know each one is individual, personalized case and so it's hard to just like assembly line everyone, you know, whether it
be women, men or veterans. i don't -- >> miss gallagher do you have any suggestions? i was wondering too, it seems like over the years, as i said earlier, i started as a social worker and then a legal aid lawyer so i dealt with a lot of poverty issues throughout my career and there seems there's more women and children in the homeless population, at least that i've seen in houston and from the data shows that there's an increase. it used to just be individual male. >> right. >> now we're seeing more women and children. so is there any, again, similar question as i asked previously, is there any specific, you know, different issues that we need to address specific to that population? >> yes. i think -- i think miss harmon had also made reference to this in terms of special needs of women. both women unaccompanied as well as women in the military service. i think frequently when we talk
about individuals and families, we are doing exactly that and not focusing on particular needs of women. i think you're right in noticing an increase. we started serving families or even women in the early 2000s. one of the things we noticed immediatedly is the level of trauma that they encountered and one of the reasons why it related to homelessness it was because of domestic violence. the hesitancy of talking about it. so it takes a long time to figure out what the issue is. you know, you understand the homeless part but that trust and providing that level of services and the mental health support for an individual, for females to talk about what toledo their homelessness that's an additional level of support that we don't quite push, and focus
on in the beginning of the services program but i think we're starting to do that with some of the recognition and noticing the increases that have come out for women who are homeless. trauma is a big part of it and recognizing the safety issues related to their discussion of their past histories with domestic violence and intimate partner relationships. >> thank you. i yield back. >> thank you very much. i would like to thank our second panel of witnesses for their testimony here today. and i would like to say a very special thanks to you all for coming here and telling your story. to our panel of witnesses today it is your work that causes you all to be here today to talk about how lives have been changed. everybody give a big round of
applause the to our second panel. >> house speaker nancy pelosi sat down with c-span this week to talk about gun background checks, working with senate majority leader mitch mcconnell and president trump, as well as the 2020 campaign and a number of other issues. see that conversation tonight at 8:00 eastern on c-span. at 6:00 p.m. on the civil war the 1863 tullahoma campaign in tennessee. >> bragg orders everybody to concentrate on tullahoma. rest of the campaign is somewhat anti-climatic. bragg is ready to fight it out there in the trenches. >> at 8:00 on lectures in history, emory professor on her 1996 lawsuit against holocaust denier.
>> that's the basic arguments of deniers. no plan. no 6 million. no leadership from hitler. no gas chambers. an the last point is that this was all made up by jews. >> and sunday 5:00 p.m. eastern a discussion about shakespeare influence on u.s. politics. at 6:00 on american artifacts the norman rockwell museum on fdr and the four freedoms. explore our nation's past every weekend on c-span 3. next on c-span 3, a look into sexual assault in the military. we'll hear from criminal law and military justice division chiefs from the army, navy, marine corps, air force and coast guard. they spoke at a meeting held by the defense department advisory committee on sexual assault in the military. this is