At least a dozen Trump administration officials are now in Los Angeles, meeting with Mayor Eric Garcetti's staffers to discuss the issue of homelessness in the city.
Led by Ben Hobbs, President Trump's special assistant for domestic policy, they toured the Skid Row area of downtown Los Angeles, which is home to thousands of homeless people, the Los Angeles Times reports. An estimated 59,000 homeless people live in Los Angeles County, up 12 percent from 2018, with more than 36,000 in L.A., an increase of 16 percent.
Trump has criticized cities in California with large homeless populations, and told Fox News earlier this year his administration is taking the issue "very seriously. We may intercede. We may do something to get that whole thing cleaned up. It's inappropriate."
Garcetti staffers said they welcome the dialogue, and have been saying more federal funding is needed to get a handle on things. A spokesman for Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), Nathan Click, said in a statement that if Trump is "willing to put serious solutions — with real investment — on the table, California stands ready to talk. He could start by ending his plans to cut food stamps, gut health care for low-income people, and scare immigrant families from accessing government services."
The Washington Post is also reporting that Trump administration officials have talked about the federal government stepping in to get homeless people in California off the streets and into new facilities backed by the government. It's unclear how, or if, this could legally work. One option being discussed is tearing down homeless encampments and renovating existing government buildings, two officials told the Post.