Press Releases

Waters Statement at Long Requested Hearing on the State of Homelessness

This hearing comes after years of requests to Chairman Jeb Hensarling from Committee Democrats to hold a hearing on this issue.

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Washington, May 17, 2018 | comments

Today, the House Financial Services Committee Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance held a hearing entitled, “An Overview of Homelessness in America.” For years, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Financial Services, and Committee Democrats, have called on the Committee to hold a hearing on homelessness. Today marks the first time Committee Republicans have held a hearing on this important issue during Chairman Jeb Hensarling’s (R-TX) tenure.

“Mr. Chairman, we know exactly how to end a person’s homelessness—you provide him or her with a home,” said Ranking Member Waters in her opening statement. “That is why I introduced H.R. 2076, the Ending Homelessness Act, which provides a surge of new resources and a comprehensive plan to tackle this solvable problem. The end of homelessness in this country is within our reach if we can muster the political courage to provide the necessary resources.”

Ranking Member Waters introduced the Ending Homelessness Act in April 2017 as a solution to effectively end homelessness in America. This 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.

Additionally, on the heels of HUD Secretary Ben Carson’s proposal to increase rents on low-income Americans, Ranking Member Waters introduced a resolution last week in support of the affordability of subsidized housing.

Yesterday, Ranking Member Waters introduced the Expanding Housing Opportunities for Foster Youth Act of 2018, a bill to provide a more sustainable solution for young people who are transitioning out of foster care and in need of a place to call home.

See below for Ranking Member Waters’ full statement at today’s hearing.

As Prepared for Delivery

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you to our witnesses for being here today. I am very pleased that we are having this hearing after Democrats have called on this Committee to turn its attention to homelessness for more than five years. This will be the first hearing that this Committee has held focused on homelessness during Chairman Hensarling’s tenure, and I certainly hope it will not be the last.

In fact, I would like to remind the Chairman of my request to hold a field hearing in Los Angeles to hear from local stakeholders about the recent increases in homelessness in that area. Los Angeles is ground zero for homelessness and that’s why I’m pleased that Peter Lynn is here today to tell us about the unique experience of Los Angeles and the unique challenges and solutions that they are facing in fighting this problem.

Today, there are over half a million people experiencing homelessness here in the richest country in the world, over one-fifth of whom are children. These are veterans who we failed to support when they returned home after serving our country; these are women fleeing domestic violence; these are people who have left prison after serving their debt to society; and these are people who have simply fallen on hard times.

Mr. Chairman, we know exactly how to end a person’s homelessness—you provide him or her with a home. That is why I introduced H.R. 2076, the Ending Homelessness Act, which provides a surge of new resources and a comprehensive plan to tackle this solvable problem. The end of homelessness in this country is within our reach if we can muster the political courage to provide the necessary resources.

Thank you, and I yield back.

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