Take Two®

News and culture through the lens of Southern California. Hosted by A Martínez

LA's homeless might see a change under President Trump

by Take Two®

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Victoria Burton waits in line to get a bed for the night at Grace Resource Center's Lancaster Community Homeless Shelter on Tuesday afternoon, May 31, 2016. Burton, a U.S. Navy veteran, is originally from Australia. She has been homeless once before, for more than a year in Oklahoma. Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Southern Californians have an unprecedented amount of energy to tackle homelessness.

"Today, particularly here in Los Angeles, there is the greatest political will that we have seen both at the city and county level," says Stephanie Klasky-Gamer of LA Family Housing.

Read more about KPCC's special report on family homelessness, Broke.

But that enthusiasm might stop short at the D.C. Beltway.

The poor and homeless rely on federal assistance as much as local help. They might get subsidized housing through the Section 8 program, for example, or food stamp benefits from SNAP.

The Trump administration, however, could make dramatic changes to that social safety net.

"All signs, to me, point to the likelihood of very significant changes and significant cuts to the social safety net," says Luke Shaefer, professor of social work and public policy at the University of Michigan. "It would be the likes of which we've never seen."

The federal government invests $3.5 trillion in social welfare programs for the poor, and there would be big effects if they're scaled back or altered.

"The only history that we have of making these kinds of changes have been bad," he says. "Anything that happens in Washington with that program are going to affect families all over the state."

CalFresh, for example – the state's food stamp program – could be affected, he says, because it gets 100 percent of its funding from the federal government.

If the Trump administrations steps down its investment, it's unclear whether local governments can step up.

"Cities and states don't have the resources that the federal government has," says Shaefer.

Listen to more of the interview by clicking the blue audio player above.

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