While many Democratic presidential candidates prepared for this week’s debate, Julián Castro, who did not qualify for the televised discussion, toured Los Angeles’ skid row, witnessing the U.S.’ housing crisis firsthand.
While walking along the neighborhood, which has one of the largest homeless populations in the country, the former Housing and Urban Development secretary spoke with individuals about his housing plans.
One man, who recognized the candidate and yelled out “Castro,” asked him, “What are you going to do differently than anybody else?”
The Mexican-American contender replied, according to the Los Angeles Times: “I actually put out the boldest housing plan to try and end homelessness by 2028, by creating a lot more housing opportunities for everyone.”
Castro released his People First Housing plan back in June. In it, he calls housing a human right and aims to end homelessness for veterans and children by the end of his first term and put a stop to chronic homelessness by the end of 2028. He proposes to ensure people have access to housing by drastically increasing the size of the federal Section 8 rent voucher program and tripling the government’s homeless assistance grants, among other plans. He would fund the projects by repealing President Donald Trump’s tax cuts and closing tax loopholes.
Castro isn’t the first 2020 presidential candidate to visit skid row. Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) visited in August and former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke, who dropped out of the presidential race last month, toured in September.
While the former San Antonio mayor did not qualify for Thursday night’s Democratic debate at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, he live-tweeted during the conversation and assured supporters that his campaign would compete in the Iowa caucuses in February.