LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — There is a new effort to help ease the homeless crisis in Southern California.

Congresswoman Maxine Waters hosted a hearing in Exposition Park Wednesday to take a closer look at homelessness in Los Angeles and try to find a solution.

Democratic members of Congress heard testimony about the homeless crisis and explored the question, “What can the federal government do to help?”

“The federal government has been missing in action,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

Garcetti went on to say that the federal government is not living up to its obligation to fully fund the Section 8 housing program.

According to L.A. Homeless Services Authority Director Perter Lynn, “3,200 Section 8 vouchers are sitting idle because there’s not enough money to put them into service. If they just funded the program, at the right level, we could house 3,200 people very quickly in this rental market.”

As chair of the financial services committee, Waters has introduced a homeless bill that would among other things, increase Section 8 funding by $2.5 billion.

“We are not discouraged at all,” said Waters. “We’re going to keep pushing, we’re going to keep working, and we’re going to do everything we can to help afford our people in this country decent and safe housing.”

Even if her bill passes through the House, it still has to go through the Senate and get signed by the president.

“You have a Republican filled Senate and you have a president who does not like California,” said Garcetti. “I’m not only an optimist, I look at any crisis as an opportunity…as much as when I disagree on almost everything else, I always say when there’s work to be done, put your partisanship down, let’s save lives together. It’s more important than any of us.”

While local and federal regulators studied their options Wednesday, according to the latest count, 17 more people will become homeless before the day is over.

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