Representatives Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) and Grace Meng (D-NY) introduced on March 19 the “Housing is a Human Right Act” (H.R. 6308). The bill would authorize more than $200 billion over 10 years in federal resources aimed at reducing homelessness. If enacted, the bill would provide immediate relief to organizations working to provide emergency shelter and other supportive services during the coronavirus pandemic. NLIHC supports this bill.
The bill would authorize up to $100 billion over 10 years for Continuum of Care (CoC) grants and Emergency Solutions Grants (ESGs). The proposal expands and reforms FEMA emergency food and shelter grants to better address homelessness, while also providing additional funding for public libraries to help them provide additional support for people experiencing homelessness. Representatives Jayapal and Meng also propose the creation of a new flexible grant program for municipalities to address housing and homelessness needs and incentivize evidence-based models, particularly alternatives to the criminalization of homelessness. The bill also includes provisions to help people experiencing homelessness access and replace personal documents and it protects their right to vote.
“The coronavirus pandemic makes it clear: housing is healthcare. We must invest the resources needed to safely shelter and house hundreds of thousands of people experiencing homelessness who are at the greatest risk of serious illness and death during this outbreak,” said Diane Yentel, NLHIC president and CEO in a joint press statement with the bill’s co-sponsors and other advocacy groups. “Congress should quickly provide emergency shelter and housing funds in its response to coronavirus to address the immediate needs and should enact Representatives Jayapal’s and Meng’s bill to provide needed resources to help end homelessness altogether so that we never again have people so vulnerable to a public health emergency.”
Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (D-IL), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) are co-sponsors of the bill.
A media release about the bill is at: https://bit.ly/2UubpdU
More about H.R. 6308 is at: https://bit.ly/3a7J6bI