Representatives Urge President Biden to Address Criminalization of Homelessness in Upcoming Budget Request

Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA) of the U.S. House of Representatives led members of the House Democratic Caucus Poverty Task Force in sending a letter to President Biden urging him to address the criminalization of homelessness in his fiscal year (FY) 2025 budget request to Congress. The letter expresses concern about growing efforts to criminalize homelessness across the country and urges the Biden administration to address homelessness through robust federal investments, regulatory changes, and the development of protocols to reduce police interactions with unhoused individuals.

In the letter, Representatives Lee, Cori Bush (D-MO), James McGovern (D-MA), and Bobby Scott (D-VA) call attention to increased violence against people experiencing homelessness at the hands of federal agencies, including the forced removal of unhoused residents residing in McPherson Square by the National Park Service in February 2023 (see Memo, 2/21). The letter explains that criminalizing homelessness is ineffective, costly, and makes it harder for people to exit homelessness.

The letter calls on the Biden administration to include robust funding for homeless programs in the president’s upcoming FY25 budget request and to pursue regulatory changes to remove barriers that homeless service providers often face when working with the federal government. The representatives also urge the administration to establish guidelines and protocols to track federal law enforcement agency interactions with people experiencing homelessness.

Read the letter at: