Richard Gere: De Blasio ‘Doesn’t Appear to Have the Solutions’ Everyone Thought

“I have been feeling pretty poorly about homelessness. Since my last visit to downtown Skid Row in Los Angeles I came away almost depressed,” she said.

Gere said the solution to tackling homelessness is about more than providing housing. To back up his point, Gere referred to a news report about a homeless community that rejected housing offered by a group of local business owners.

“You have to give time. You have to give patience. You have to be real for them, to trust them enough to accept the housing and that that was going to be better for them,” he said.

Waters praised Gere for dedicating his time to the issue and asked if he had a message for Congress.

“I want to thank you, congresswoman. You’re an extraordinary person. This is not the kind of thing that people want to do; it’s not easy, and the few dollars that one can get in a very difficult time to get money, this is not one of those projects that is very sexy right now. It’s hard to see where one can go and be truly effective,” he told Waters.

Gere said the fund that helps people on the verge of losing their homes in New York City is an effective way to prevent homelessness.

“It’s obviously much easier to give that little amount of money to keep people in the homes, their apartments, whatever it may be, than to deal with them once they have lost their home and have started this rapid deterioration that I see and respond to on the streets,” he said.

Gere said he told de Blasio there is no “one size fits all” solution to the problem.

“These are human beings. Everyone’s got a different problem,” he said.

He told the audience that some people did not recognize him during the filming of the movie in New York City.

“From two blocks away, they saw the cliché of that mentally ill guy on the corner who probably would assault them and was going to ask for too much money – and whatever that cliché was they had in their mind, and projected that on me. This is what happens to people out in the street who are vaguely in this territory of homeless – whether it be chronic or it happened yesterday,” he said.