Financial Services Committee Ranking Member Maxine Waters (D-CA) requested on February 23 that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) conduct a study on the state of homelessness in America. Ms. Waters expressed great concern regarding recent findings on homelessness in the U.S., including data from the 2017 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress, which found that homelessness had increased for the first time in seven years. Homelessness has increased significantly in certain areas, particularly in Los Angeles, New York, and Seattle. Ms. Waters specifically asks that GAO research how the shortage of affordable housing impacts homelessness, saying the report will “better equip [Congress] in [its] efforts to prevent and end homelessness in this country.”
Ms. Waters also identifies several other issues that the report should examine, including factors that increase homelessness and the policies, tools, and funding levels to effectively address those factors; the impact of current programs on various sub-populations, like families with children and individuals with substance-abuse disorders; current methods for estimating homelessness; and the ability of federal programs to utilize non-federal resources.