MReport May 2019

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TH E M R EP O RT | 57 O R I G I NAT I O N S E R V I C I N G DATA G O V E R N M E N T S E C O N DA R Y M A R K E T THE LATEST GOVERNMENT Children, Youth, and Veterans—America's Homeless The Committee on Financial Services took a closer look at the nation's continuing crisis of homelessness. T he Committee on Finan- cial Services held a hear- ing titled "Homeless in America: Examining the Crisis and Solutions to End Home- lessness." The hearing allowed members to hear from witnesses about the challenges of putting an end to homelessness as well as their and their recommendations for legislation to tackle the issue. The Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) released by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides an estimate of the homeless population in the United States. The 2018 AHAR revealed that there were 552,830 people experi- encing homelessness in the nation on a single night—representing a 0.3 percent increase compared to the previous year. This is also the second year in a row of increases in homelessness despite an overall 13.2 percent decline in homeless- ness since 2010, according to HUD. The AHAR, which also ex- amines the demographics of the people experiencing homelessness, found that nearly 160,000 children and youth experienced homeless- ness—which is nearly 30 percent of the total—and over 216,000 women and girls representing 40 percent of the total. Data also revealed that nearly 9 percent of veterans experienced homelessness in 2018. The panel included the follow- ing witnesses: • Ann Marie Oliva, Senior Policy Advisor, Corporation for Supportive Housing • Nan Roman, President and CEO, National Alliance to End Homelessness • Joshua Stewart, Director of Policy, National Coalition for Homeless Veterans • Justin T. Rush, Public Policy Director, True Colors Fund • Carolyn Darley, Speaker Advocate, National Coalition for the Homelessness • David S. Lucas, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Institute for an Entrepreneurial Society, Whitman School of Management, Syracuse University African-Americans comprised 40 percent of all people experienc- ing homelessness, despite making up only 13 percent of the nation's general population, and Hispanic or Latino people comprised 25 percent, the report stated. The findings also show that more progress has been made in reduc- ing homelessness among some sub populations than others. The great- est progress in reducing homeless- ness has been among veterans due in large part to increased funding for this population. Addressing the causes of home- lessness, the memorandum cited the growing rental housing crisis in many parts of the country as a contributor in driving the lowest income families into homeless- ness. According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, the U.S. has a shortage of more than 7.2 million rental homes that are affordable and available to the lowest income renter households. According to the memoran- dum, 71 percent of the lowest income renter households are severely cost burdened, spending more than half of their incomes on rent and utilities. Only 22 counties in the country can af- ford a one-bedroom rental home. Through the administration of three main homeless as- sistance programs—Emergency Solutions Grants, Continuum of Care program, and HUD Veteran Affairs Supported Housing program—serve people experiencing homelessness. In addition to this, the report also pointed out that Congress created the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) to coordinate the federal response to homelessness across relevant federal agencies. The hearing also focused on legislative proposals such as "The Ending Homelessness Act of 2019" introduced by Chairwoman Waters to provide $13.27 billion over five years to several critical federal housing programs and ini- tiatives. The "Working Together to End Homelessness Act of 2019," a discussion draft from Chairwoman Waters aims to per- manently reauthorize USICH. The "Homes for Our Heroes Act of 2019," is another discussion draft from Representative Peters that would require HUD and the Department of Veteran Affairs to provide more detailed reporting on the HUD-VASH programs. The "Veteran Housing Opportunities and Unemployment Support Extension Act of 2019", align eligibility for the HUD-VASH Program with other homeless- ness services furnished by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

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