The Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) released a legislative brief, “Housing Supply and the Drivers of Homelessness,” on February 7. The brief supports key NLIHC-endorsed housing policies, including championing the Housing First approach to ending homelessness, establishing a permanent emergency rental assistance program, expanding the Housing Choice Voucher program, and eliminating barriers to building affordable housing.
In response to an increase in unsheltered homelessness, communities across the country are implementing harmful, dehumanizing measures that will make it even more difficult for people to exit homelessness. Efforts to criminalize homelessness and clear encampments without providing alternative housing options run counter to the strategies outlined in the Biden administration’s All In: The Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness, which recommits the federal government to the evidence-based Housing First approach.
The BPC report shares data on homelessness rates in the U.S. and research on the fundamental interplay between homelessness and housing supply to help policymakers advance a comprehensive plan that includes supporting evidence-based interventions and addressing the severe shortage of affordable housing. The report highlights research that Gregg Colburn and Clayton Page Aldern outline in their book, Homelessness is a Housing Problem, which demonstrates that housing-related factors – not individual attributes or circumstances – explain regional variation in homelessness rates.
The brief recommends expanding Housing First permanent supportive housing interventions. BPC highlights the success of Housing First in reducing veteran homelessness and helping people experiencing homelessness obtain and maintain permanent housing. Additional solutions to the homelessness crisis include codifying emergency rental assistance programs and other COVID-19 supports that helped millions of families avoid homelessness during the pandemic; expanding the Housing Choice Voucher program to provide critical support to families with the lowest incomes; and eliminating barriers to building affordable housing by incentivizing state and local governments to eliminate restrictive zoning and land use policies.
Read the Bipartisan Policy Center’s legislative brief, “Housing Supply and the Drivers of Homelessness,” at: https://bit.ly/3RJFN0U