Press Releases

Waters Calls on Appropriators to Address the Nation’s Homelessness Crisis

Washington, DC, July 26, 2019

Following the House passage of a $2.7 trillion budget deal, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chairwoman of the House Committee on Financial Services, sent a letter to senior Members of the House Committee on Appropriations, applauding their recent bipartisan agreement to lift FY2020 discretionary spending limits and requesting that the additional discretionary funds provided by the agreement be used to address the ongoing homelessness crisis.

“Homelessness has reached crisis proportions in some parts of the country, and we cannot expect to make any significant progress towards our nation's goals for ending homelessness without substantial new funding,” wrote Chairwoman Waters. “That is why I have introduced the Ending Homelessness Act of 2019 (H.R. 1856) that would provide over $13 billion to ensure every person experiencing homelessness in America has a place to call home. However, understanding the agreement’s funding constraints, I respectfully request that you provide at least $5 billion to the Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD's) McKinney Vento Homeless Assistance Grant program in Fiscal Year 2020—a $2.36 billion increase over last year’s funding levels. By providing this increase in funding, we can deliver new resources to communities and people who so desperately need it.”

See text of the letter below.

The Honorable Nita Lowey
Chairwoman
U.S. House of Representatives
Committee on Appropriations
H-307, U.S. Capitol
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable David E. Price
Chairman
U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations
Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing
and Urban Development and Related Agencies
2108 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Kay Granger
Ranking Member
U.S. House of Representatives
House Committee on Appropriations
1026 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Mario Diaz-Balart
Ranking Member
U.S. House of Representatives
Committee on Appropriations
Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies
2358 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairwoman Lowey, Ranking Member Granger, Chairman Price, and Ranking Member Diaz-Balart:

I am pleased that you and Congressional leadership were able to come to a bipartisan agreement to lift the Fiscal Year 2020 discretionary spending limits required by the Budget Control Act. As you consider how to allocate the additional discretionary funds provided by the agreement, I urge you to make addressing homelessness a top priority. Homelessness has reached crisis proportions in some parts of the country, and we cannot expect to make any significant progress towards our nation's goals for ending homelessness without substantial new funding. That is why I have introduced the Ending Homelessness Act of 2019 (H.R. 1856) that would provide over $13 billion to ensure every person experiencing homelessness in America has a place to call home. However, understanding the agreement’s funding constraints, I respectfully request that you provide at least $5 billion to the Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD's) McKinney Vento Homeless Assistance Grant program in Fiscal Year 2020—a $2.36 billion increase over last year’s funding levels. By providing this increase in funding, we can deliver new resources to communities and people who so desperately need it.

Homelessness affects the very fabric of our communities and it degrades the values upon which our country was built. Every American has the right to safe, decent, and affordable housing. But according to the latest estimates, we have seen an increase in homelessness in the Unites States for the second year in a row. The 20l8 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress found that 552,830 people experiencing homelessness on a single night in January 2018. It is a problem in virtually every district, and it affects people from all different walks of life. While we have made significant strides in reducing homelessness through targeted resources, progress has been uneven across the country and has virtually stalled in the absence of new funding.

In the richest country in the world, it is simply unconscionable that this many of our neighbors across the country are living without a place to call home. Several communities have experienced severe increases in their homeless populations, further illuminating that homelessness is a crisis. The federal government must recognize the national crisis at hand and support communities and local service providers who are on the streets helping people experiencing homelessness every day.

Thank you in advance for your consideration of this request. Please contact Esther Kahng with Chairwoman Waters at Esther.Kahng@mail.house.gov.


Sincerely,

MAXINE WATERS
Chairwoman


CC: Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy


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