In response to the over 500,000 homeless Americans, including 120,000 homeless children, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Financial Services, along with 14 Democratic Members of Congress, introduced groundbreaking legislation that outlines a strategic plan to end homelessness. The Ending Homelessness Act of 2017 represents the solution this country needs to effectively end homelessness in America.
“Homelessness is a tragic reminder of the poverty that affects hundreds of thousands of Americans from different walks of life in virtually every district,” said Ranking Member Waters. “Just last month, President Trump gave a speech from the deck of a brand new shiny aircraft carrier that cost almost $13 billion. If we can spend $13 billion on an aircraft carrier, we can spend $13 billion to end homelessness.”
Ranking Member Waters’ bill, The Ending Homelessness Act of 2017, would help ensure that every American has a safe, decent, and affordable place to call home. The bill provides $13.27 billion in new funding over five years to federal programs and initiatives that will help the over 500,000 Americans who are currently homeless.
The bill also eliminates the sunset date for the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH), an independent council that ensures the most efficient use of limited resources by focusing on effective coordination of resources across all sectors. The Ending Homelessness Act of 2017 is now more crucial than ever given the fact that President Trump’s budget proposal threatens to eliminate the USICH completely, pushing us further away from addressing the harsh realities of homelessness in America.
Original cosponsors of The Ending Homelessness Act of 2017 include Representatives Al Green (D-TX), Gwen Moore (D-WI), Juan Vargas (D-CA), Adam Smith (D-WA), Jerry McNerney (D-CA), Louise Slaughter (D-NY), Norma Torres (D-CA), Keith Ellison (D-MN), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), Stephen Lynch (D-MA), Grace Napolitano (D-CA), Danny Davis (D-IL) and Barbara Lee (D-CA).
The bill is supported by the National Alliance to End Homelessness and the National Low Income Housing Coalition, and CSH:
“This bill targets the most vulnerable and disadvantaged Americans,” said Nan Roman, President and CEO of the National Alliance to End Homelessness. “Americans do not believe that in our great country having a severe mental illness or other disability should condemn people to sleeping on the streets and eating out of trash cans. We are better than that, and passing Ranking Member Waters’ bill would prove it.”
“The National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) enthusiastically supports Ranking Member Maxine Waters’ bold, new bill that provides communities with the resources they need to make a significant step toward ending homelessness once and for all,” said Diane Yentel, CEO of the NLIHC. “The solution to homelessness is an affordable home, and the Ending Homelessness Act of 2017 provides a direct investment into critical tools to make housing affordable for people with the greatest needs.”
The Ending Homelessness Act of 2017 includes the following funding amounts over and above what is already annually provided for these existing U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) programs:
- $5 billion over five years to McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants, which is expected to provide 85,000 new permanent housing units;
- Permanent authorization for the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness to ensure that the progress we achieve is sustained for years to come.
- $2.5 billion over five years to for new Special Purpose Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers (HCV), which is expected to provide an additional 300,000 housing vouchers and would give preference to those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless;
- $1.05 billion annually in mandatory spending dedicated to the National Housing Trust Fund, which in the first five years of funding is expected to create 25,000 new units affordable to extremely low-income households, with a priority for housing the homeless;
- $500 million over five years in outreach funding to ensure that homeless people are connected to the resources they need and;
- $20 million for HUD’s Healthcare and Housing (H2) Systems Integration Initiative, which provides technical assistance to help state and local governments coordinate their healthcare and housing initiatives.
Click here to view the legislation, an executive summary, and the section-by-section.