Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao joined mayors from across the country in Washington, D.C., this week to ask for more federal resources to combat homelessness and housing insecurity.

Specifically, Thao wants the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to boost the number of housing vouchers available to low-income residents. Recipients pay a portion of their income on rent — typically 30% — and the vouchers cover the rest.

In Oakland, almost half of households spend more than 30% of their income on rent, classifying them as rent-burdened, according to the city. As rental prices have skyrocketed in recent years, Oakland’s homeless population has more than doubled, spiking from an estimated 2,191 people in 2015 to 5,055 people in 2022.

The average rent for an apartment in the city was $2,553 a month in March, compared to $1,713 nationwide, according to RentCafe.

“The housing crisis in Oakland and across the country demands urgent action,” Thao, who was briefly homeless while living in her car after escaping an abusive relationship, said in a statement. “We cannot stand idly by while our communities suffer.”

Around 2.3 million households nationwide receive federal housing vouchers. But another roughly 10 million are eligible and can’t get the assistance due to a lack of funding and years-long wait lists, according to the White House. In Oakland, the local housing authority administers various federal vouchers, including ones specifically for formerly homeless people, to about 13,000 households.

Last month, President Joe Biden proposed adding 50,000 vouchers for veterans and guaranteeing vouchers for the estimated 20,000 young adults who leave foster care each year, among other budget proposals to add affordable housing. Congressional Republicans, however, will likely push back on the increased spending.

Thao’s trip to D.C. comes as Oakland residents have grown increasingly frustrated with crime, blight and homelessness in the city, prompting a recall effort to gather the more than 25,000 signatures needed to ask voters this November whether to remove her from office.

Nearly 50 mayors visited the nation’s capital to meet with federal officials about housing and homelessness. They included Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass, Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve, Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt and Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz. San Jose Mayor Matt Mahan and San Francisco Mayor London Breed did not make the trip.