Senator Murray on Record 12% Increase in Homelessness Reported This Year: “No Time to Talk About Slashing Our Investments in Tackling This Crisis”
ICYMI: Murray Details Devastating Harm of Speaker Johnson’s Full-Year CR Threat That Would Cut Federal Housing Assistance for Nearly 700k Households – MORE HERE
Washington, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, issued the following statement after the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released its 2023 Annual Homeless Assessment Report, an annual point-in-time snapshot of homelessness in the U.S., which found more than 650,000 people were experiencing homelessness on a single night in January 2023—a 12% increase from the prior year. Before the pandemic, homelessness had been on the rise from 2016 to 2020. However, the increase marks the largest year-over-year increase in homelessness since HUD began collecting the data.
“This report makes clear what so many of us already recognize: homelessness is a crisis in every part of our country that is getting worse, and it’s critical we strengthen federal efforts to help people keep a roof over their head and afford a place to call home,” said Senator Murray. “This is no time to talk about slashing our investments in tackling this crisis—but that’s exactly what Speaker Johnson and House Republicans are pushing to do by reneging on the spending deal they negotiated this year and forcing steep across-the-board cuts to vital domestic programs, including federal housing and homelessness assistance and essential programs to increase our housing supply.”
In recent weeks, as Congress faces fast-approaching funding deadlines in January and February, House Republicans have continued their push to renege on the spending deal they negotiated with the White House and voted for earlier this year—seeking to cut funding for vital non-defense programs, including programs to tackle the United States’ homelessness and housing crises. Speaker Mike Johnson has repeatedly stated that he will not pass another short-term funding bill if Congress does not pass full-year appropriations bills by the next funding deadlines. Instead, he has said he will seek to pass a date-change, full-year continuing resolution (CR) that would result in as much as a 9.4% across-the-board cut to domestic programs.
A 9.4% cut would result in a $5.5 billion reduction to HUD’s rental and homeless assistance programs—putting 700,000 households at risk of eviction or homelessness. Nearly 400,000 families would lose access to housing vouchers and 80,000 fewer households experiencing homelessness would be served.
The Senate’s FY24 Transportation-Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill, which cleared out of Committee in a unanimous 29-0 vote this summer and passed the Senate in an overwhelming 82-15 vote this fall, maintains critical investments in our nation’s rental assistance programs and, despite the tough funding constraints imposed by the Fiscal Responsibility Act, provides important new funding increases for key federal programs to address homelessness and increase the supply of affordable housing nationwide.
Among other things, the Senate bill:
- Provides $3.9 billion for Homeless Assistance Grants, a $275 million increase above the fiscal year 2023 enacted level.
- Includes $1.5 billion to sustain robust funding for the HOME Investment Partnerships Program, the primary federal tool of state and local governments that produces affordable rental and owner-occupied housing. This funding will allow for construction of nearly 10,000 new rental and homebuyer units. By contrast, House Republicans’ bill cuts funding for this program to $500 million, the lowest funding level since the program’s creation three decades ago.
- Delivers $100 million for the second year of the “Yes In My Back Yard” grant program—a $15 million increase over fiscal year 2023—to strengthen communities’ efforts to remove barriers to affordable housing production and help jurisdictions increase their housing stock and lower housing costs. House Republicans’ bill eliminates the program.
- Maintains critical support for HUD rental assistance programs, which assist nearly 5 million vulnerable households—more than half of whom are elderly or people with disabilities.
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