At First Hearing of 2020, Waters Continues to Prioritize Affordable Housing and Homelessness Crisis
Washington, January 14, 2020
Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chairwoman of the House Committee on Financial Services, delivered the following opening statement at a full Committee hearing entitled, “On the brink of homelessness: How the affordable housing crisis leaves families vulnerable.”
As Prepared for Delivery
Today, this Committee convenes for its first hearing of the year to examine our country’s rental housing crisis and how it is causing many Americans to live on the brink of homelessness. In 2019, homelessness increased by 2.7 percent, resulting in almost 568,000 people experiencing homelessness. Areas with high rental costs such as Los Angeles have seen particularly high increases in homelessness. Los Angeles experienced a 16 percent jump in homelessness in 2019 alone. Between 2010 and 2017, LA’s homeless population increased by 42 percent.
I am deeply dismayed, that, despite these numbers, Congress has failed to prioritize this issue and continues to underfund the very programs that would help people afford a roof over their heads. Not only are we failing to adequately invest in federal programs to meet the needs of people who are currently experiencing homelessness, we are also failing to adequately invest in the solutions that can prevent homelessness in the future, such as the National Housing Trust Fund, which is dedicated to the development and preservation of housing that is affordable to the lowest income households.
We need to do more if we’re going to address the rental housing and homelessness crisis: we need to preserve the affordable housing that we have, and we need to increase investments in programs that develop new housing or provide rental assistance. We know what the solutions are to this problem; we just need the political will and resources. I look forward to hearing from the panel of witnesses we have here with us today.