Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee, convened the first Committee hearing of the 116th Congress and the Committee’s first ever full Committee hearing on the issue of homelessness in this country.
For years, Committee Democrats have worked to bring attention to the homelessness crisis and have put forth proactive solutions to address this important issue.
See the Chairwoman’s opening statement at today’s hearing entitled, “Homeless in America: Examining the Crisis and Solutions to End Homelessness,” below.
As Prepared for Delivery
Today, this Committee convenes for its first hearing of the116th Congress.
This hearing is on an extremely important subject: the national homelessness crisis. Today, there are over a half million people experiencing homelessness nationwide, and nearly 160,000 of them are children. Nearly 38,000 are veterans who we have failed to support after their service to our nation. The number of people experiencing chronic homelessness nationwide increased between 2017 and 2018.
In Los Angeles County, there are over 50,000 people experiencing homelessness, nearly 5,000 of whom are children, and over 3,800 of whom are veterans.
In the richest country in the world, it is simply unacceptable that we have people living in the streets. This is a crisis that requires action. I had my staff look at this Committee’s hearing records, and it appears that this is the very first time that the full Committee has convened a hearing focused entirely on homelessness. So it is long overdue for this Committee to turn its attention to this crisis and consider proactive solutions to ensure that every American has a safe, affordable place to call home. This is a top priority for me as Chairwoman.
We need Congress to have the political courage to step up and provide the resources and funding necessary to end homelessness. And the first step is to put forth proposals to address the problem and have a discussion. My bill, the Ending Homelessness Act, provides $13.27 billion in new funding over five years to federal programs and initiatives to prevent homelessness. It includes funding for new units of affordable housing, new vouchers, case management, and technical assistance.
Today at this hearing, we will hear directly from experts and advocates regarding the continuing challenges in tackling homelessness in America, and their recommendations on solutions.