Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), along with Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), introduced a bill to permanently authorize the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) on March 9.
In his introductory statement, Senator Reed noted USICH was created during former President Reagan’s administration after the “McKinney-Vento Homelessness Assistance Act” was passed in 1987. Throughout their tenure, Senators Reed and Collins have both worked to expand the Council’s role in supporting nonprofits, including by sponsoring the “Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing Act” (or HEARTH Act), which helped guide stakeholders at all governmental levels to deploy their resources effectively.
Despite the work of USICH, homelessness is still a persistent problem in the U.S. and has only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. HUD’s 2022 Annual Homelessness Assessment Report found that more than 500,000 people were unhoused on any given night in 2022. USICH manages collaborations between 19 federal agencies to deploy and leverage resources with nonfederal partners to effectively address homelessness. Such a coordinated approach can save taxpayer dollars by providing permanent housing and needed services to those experiencing chronic homelessness.
The bill was introduced previously in the 116th Congress and received the support of NLIHC, among other advocacy organizations. Senator Reed has also advocated in the past to end USICH’s sunset date of October 2028.
Learn more about the bill here.