Senator and presidential candidate Kamala Harris (D-CA) introduced the “Ending Homelessness Act of 2019” (S. 2613) on October 16. Co-sponsored by Senators Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Patty Murray (D-WA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), the bill would establish federal grant programs to address the unmet needs of people experiencing homelessness and would authorize increased funding for existing programs including the national Housing Trust Fund (HTF), project-based rental assistance (PBRA), and project-based vouchers (PBVs).
The sweeping legislation calls for $1 billion per year over five years for the creation of emergency relief grants to help address the unmet needs of people experiencing homelessness in areas with the highest need. It would also authorize $1 billion per year for the national HTF; $500 million per year over five years for rental assistance vouchers; and $50 million per year for project-based vouchers (PBVs) or project-based rental assistance (PBRA). The bill would further mandate that any housing receiving HTF, PBVs or PBRA funding must maintain rent levels no higher than 30% of household income.
The legislation would also authorize funding for grant programs to expand outreach efforts and supportive services for individuals and families experiencing homelessness or who have recently experienced homelessness, including $100 million per year from fiscal years (FY) 2022-2024 to hire case managers and social workers to perform outreach and coordination services, and $20 million for FY20 for technical assistance to help expand the Healthcare and Housing Systems Integration Initiative. This collaborative initiative between the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) and Health and Human Services aims to align policies and funding between health programs and housing providers to deliver supportive housing opportunities to people experiencing homelessness. The legislation would also make permanent authorization of appropriations for McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants and permanently extend USICH.
Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA) introduced a similar bill in the House on March 25 (H.R. 1856; see Memo, 4/8). The House bill passed out of the Financial Services Committee on March 28 but has yet to be brought to the floor for a full vote.
Read the text of the “Ending Homelessness Act of 2019” at: https://bit.ly/2qm2e3v
Learn more about the bill at: https://bit.ly/2oKyoWe