WASHINGTON D.C., DC — Mayor Todd Gloria is in Washington D.C. on Tuesday to speak at the National Housing Conference – Solutions for Affordable Housing. The conference brings together housing professionals, policymakers, researchers and advocates to discuss solutions to the nation's housing policy challenges. Gloria was invited to speak at the conference about the efforts undertaken by his administration to build more affordable housing.
Gloria is expected to meet with Biden administration officials including the Director of White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, Dr. Rahul Gupta, and U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, as well as congressional leaders about key issues for San Diego such as the fentanyl crisis, immigration and securing funds for community projects in the city.
His trip to D.C. comes months after Gloria responded to critics over his handling of the homelessness crisis that has grown even bigger under his tenure.
"The frustration that people are expressing is understandable. I'm frustrated as well. But the difference is you can’t allow that frustration to lead to inaction," said Mayor Gloria. "You have to funnel that frustration toward progress."
When asked why he thinks his administration seems to be getting more heat about this issue than previous administrations, he said it's just part of the job.
"Welcome to the job of being mayor. This job causes you to be held accountable for everything," he said. "I have a sign on my desk that says 'The buck stops here,' I get that. You're held accountable for things you did and things you didn’t do, things you have nothing to do with, things that are other people's problems."
Gloria called the homelessness crisis the ‘toughest part of the job,' and said the response to the issue must be aggressive.
"It's very difficult to that tailor board-based policy into something that fits that individual but if there is a simple answer, it’s housing. housing with services ends homelessness," he said.
He says the city is focused on addressing mental health and addiction to help more people get off the streets, but says the drug crisis, specifically fentanyl is fueling addiction.
"This has been a game-changer, it is super charging our homeless crisis, it is killing people of all strides but particularly homeless people," said Gloria.
When discussing affordable housing, Gloria said there’s not enough units available which is why his administration wants to build more.
He touted the city’s plan to redevelop the sports arena area and using city property for housing development.
"We’re going to build a new arena and the rest is going to be housing - 4,000 units over half of which are going to be for low-income San Diegans," he said.
He called on the state and federal government to step in and provide more resources.
"Diego cannot solve the state’s housing crisis by itself. Not every city is pro-housing like San Diego, so we need Sacramento in our case, to pass legislation to get everyone to catch up," he added.
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