We also asked all the candidates what is the single most important policy change the federal government could enact to address and alleviate homelessness in California.
Friedman said the U.S. “must recognize housing as a basic human right,” arguing that federal tax policy should be aligned to “promote the building of affordable housing and discourage speculation.” She also said services should be expanded to end street encampments and provide greater support for low-income renters who can’t find housing in the private market.
Pudlo also described housing as human right, arguing for national rent control and more permanent, supportive housing and services, “paired with the decriminalization of homelessness.”
Portantino said that the “federal government must be a partner and provide mental health care. Keeping people on the streets is not progressive, and the federal government can also provide more transitional housing opportunities.” He also argued for more long-term housing and access to services, including drug and alcohol treatment.
Savage argued that Congress should pass legislation to ensure permanent supportive housing, as well as expanded mentorship and job training programs. He also said there should be increased funding and accessibility for mental health resources.
Melvoin focused on housing production, saying the federal government “should allow for the construction of low-cost housing on unused public land in cities and provide increased funding for these housing projects while integrating mental health and job training services.”
Shyne said the country needs “more housing and investments in social services to help unhoused people get a fresh start.” She suggested that the federal government “can pass a huge investment in public and affordable housing with the help of [the Department of Housing and Urban Development] and the private sector, which includes funding for wraparound services.”
Ratevosian emphasized his background in government, saying that, as “a former staffer, I know how to ensure federal grants make it to our district.” He said tackling the root causes of homelessness to connect housing programs to social services was the key to a lasting solution, arguing that more affordable housing and mental health coverage were needed, along with “less corporate greed.”
Feuer argued for promoting affordable housing and upgrading mental health, substance abuse and veterans’ resources. He also said that project-based housing vouchers should be expanded. He advocated for ending rules limiting federal funding for mental health facilities and substance abuse treatment and to “stop counting veterans’ benefits in setting housing eligibility.”