Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee, stopped to assist hundreds of people frustrated by the current housing crisis in Los Angeles.
In the article included below, ABC 7 Los Angeles details a recent event where misinformation led to a crowd of people lining up with the expectation of receiving housing vouchers. The article describes the efforts Waters took to support those in need of assistance and clear up confusion.
The misinformation was the result of a rumor that suggested that Section 8 housing vouchers that help low-income families afford housing were being given by Fathers and Mothers Who Care (FMWC), a local nonprofit.
In fact, FMWC was contracted by the Los Angeles Homeless Service Authority (LAHSA) to do outreach in underserved communities to help people learn about and apply for emergency housing vouchers, which are exclusively for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness and people fleeing or attempting to flee domestic violence.
There were no Section 8 vouchers being disseminated, nor were people encouraged to go anywhere else to seek help. Unfortunately, because of limited funding, the Section 8 voucher program is oversubscribed, resulting in families waiting for years to receive assistance.
That is why Waters continues to fight to increase resources for this program in Congress and recently secured $24 billion for the program in the Build Back Better Act that passed the House of Representatives in November 2021.
As a fierce and longtime champion for fair and affordable housing in Congress, Waters has led the Committee’s efforts to address our country’s worsening affordable housing and homelessness crises and has secured billions of dollars for housing programs during the coronavirus pandemic, including $46.6 billion in emergency rental assistance, $10 billion to help struggling homeowners, $5 billion for emergency housing vouchers for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness, and $5 billion to help communities address homelessness.
Most recently, Waters spearheaded the Committee’s effort to secure more than $150 billion in new affordable housing investments in the Build Back Better Act. She has also held multiple hearings to examine the affordable housing and homelessness crises, including the first-ever full Committee hearing on homelessness in 2019.
The text of the ABC 7 Los Angeles article is below:
“Get help,” said she said.
At one point she even used a microphone on a nearby police unit to provide more information.
“I blame those who have the money that we have sent from the federal government who have not been able to communicate properly and to provide the services that we worked so hard for,” said Waters.
The congresswoman said she believes more than half the people who came out Friday were misinformed. However, she also said the amount of people that came out shows there’s a real need in the community.
“There’s a lot of people out here,” said Dwight Carr, who showed up with intentions of getting a Section 8 voucher. “Because people sleeping on the street, the prices are going up, nobody has a place to go to.”
Waters said she will continue to try and help get the people what they need.
“This is an indication of neglect and a lack of processes that is doing what we want them to do,” she said. “So people are here just trying to get a place to live and to get some support.”