The House Financial Services Committee approved, by a vote of 32-26, the “Ending Homelessness Act of 2019” (H.R. 1856) on March 28. The legislation was first introduced by House Financial Services Committee Chair Maxine Waters (D-CA) in 2016 and reintroduced last week. The proposal would provide $13.27 billion over five years to fight homelessness and housing shortages through vouchers, the construction of new units, and outreach.
The bill’s funding is targeted to McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants, new Special Purpose Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers (HCV), the national Housing Trust Fund, outreach to connect homeless people to resources, and state/local initiatives. The bill would provide 410,000 new affordable homes for the lowest-income households. It would also permanently authorize the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness—both of which are essential to ensure homeless people have access to emergency shelter and services, transitional housing, job training, primary health care, and education.
Several amendments were adopted during the vote, including an amendment offered by Representative Bill Posey (R-FL) to provide incentives for communities to adopt inclusionary zoning policies, an amendment from Representative Andy Barr (R-KY) to allow nonprofit organizations to apply for funding, and an amendment offered by Representative Bill Huizenga (R-MI) to allow faith-based organizations to apply for funding.