Richard Gere on Homelessness

Time Out of Mind Star and Housing
Experts Share Testimony

Richard GereHouse Committee on Financial Services Ranking Member Maxine Waters (D-CA) hosted a congressional briefing on the state of homelessness in America, where speakers, including actor and activist Richard Gere, spoke about the challenges, the path forward, and the affordable housing investments needed to end homelessness. He is the star in the new movie Time Out of Mind.

Ranking Member Waters called for the country to recognize how homelessness diminishes dignity and how difficult homelessness is to escape. She said that while our country has made significant progress in ending homelessness nationwide,

“this progress [has been] uneven across the country and is at risk of stalling or backsliding without continued bipartisan support for funding of federal homelessness assistance and housing programs. Congress has a responsibility to the people of this country to provide everyone with a safe, decent, and affordable roof over their heads.”

She noted that homelessness has increased 16% since 2013 in her district, which includes Los Angeles. Ranking Member Waters noted,

“Everyone deserves safe, decent, affordable housing.”

Mr. Gere, who has worked on homelessness issues for many years, gave a powerful account of his own experience playing a homeless man panhandling on the streets of New York City, and how bystanders failed to recognize him. Mr. Gere focused on the alienation, displacement, and loneliness felt by those experiencing homelessness, and how they lose a “sense of belonging and community.”

Additional speakers included U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness Executive Director Matthew Doherty, HUD Senior Advisor Jennifer Ho, and Nan Roman, President and CEO of National Alliance to End Homelessness.

Click here to watch a webcast of the hearing.