|Last week, House Financial Services Committee Ranking Member Maxine Waters (D-CA) introduced the Ending Homelessness Act of 2016, H.R. 4888, which would provide $13.27 billion over five years to housing and services programs with the goal of ending homelessness in America. Announcing her new legislation, Representative Waters argued that homelessness is not an insurmountable problem but requires "the political will to put the necessary resources behind the solutions we know will work" and called on Democrats and Republicans to come together to end the homelessness crisis through increased resources.
Specifically, HR 4888 would provide $1.05 billion annually in mandatory spending dedicated to the National Housing Trust Fund; $2.5 billion for special purpose Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers for homeless families, youth, and individuals; $5 billion in McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants funding; $500 million in outreach funding to ensure homeless people are connected to the resources they need; and $20 million in technical assistance funding to help states and localities align health and housing systems.
According to HUD’s latest Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress, there were 407,000 homeless households in 2015. H.R. 4888 would provide funding for approximately 405,000-410,000 units of deeply affordable housing for homeless individuals, families, and youth.
H.R. 4888 was referred to the House Budget and Financial Services Committees for consideration and currently has no cosponsors. After introducing the legislation, Representative Waters sent a letter to House Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) urging his support for H.R. 4888 and reiterating an earlier request for a series of hearings on the state of homelessness in the country.