Bills to Amend the Definition of Homelessness

U.S. Senate bill: S. 611 — Homeless Children and Youth Act

Committees:

Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs

Status:

Referred to Committee

Cosponsors:

(see all cosponsors)

Sen. Feinstein, Dianne [D-CA], Sen. Portman, Rob [R-OH], Sen. Baldwin, Tammy [D-WI], Sen. Heitkamp, Heidi [D-ND], Sen. Scott, Tim [R-SC], Sen. Hatch, Orrin G. [R-UT], Sen. Harris, Kamala D. [D-CA], Sen. Murkowski, Lisa [R-AK]

U.S. House bill: H.R. 1511 — Homeless Children and Youth Act

Committees:

Financial Services; Education and the Workforce

Status:

Not yet referred to committee

Cosponsors:

(see all cosponsors)

Rep. Stivers, Steve [R-OH-15], Rep. Loebsack, David [D-IA-2], Rep. Beatty, Joyce [D-OH-3], Rep. Walz, Timothy J. [D-MN-1], Rep. DeFazio, Peter A. [D-OR-4], Rep. Jayapal, Pramila [D-WA-7], Rep. Lipinski, Daniel [D-IL-3], Rep. McMorris Rodgers, Cathy [R-WA-5], Rep. Pocan, Mark [D-WI-2], Rep. Moore, Gwen [D-WI-4] 04/17/2018, Rep. Bonamici, Suzanne [D-OR-1], Rep. Fitzpatrick, Brian K. [R-PA-8], Rep. Young, David [R-IA-3], Rep. Hanabusa, Colleen [D-HI-1], Rep. Carbajal, Salud O. [D-CA-24], Rep. Bacon, Don [R-NE-2], Rep. Posey, Bill [R-FL-8], Rep. Sinema, Kyrsten [D-AZ-9], Rep. Davis, Danny K. [D-IL-7], Rep. Clay, Wm. Lacy [D-MO-1], Rep. Hill, J. French [R-AR-2]

Impact

These bills would greatly increase the cost burden to the homeless services system while reducing the hallmark efficiencies of the system that has reduced homelessness by 15% over the last decade. This legislation would only make it more difficult for unsheltered and endangered individuals, families, children, and unaccompanied youth to get assistance.

Alliance Position: The Alliance opposes both the House and Senate Homeless Children and Youth Acts.

Summary

Summary: Companion bills in the House and Senate were introduced at the beginning of this Congress to amend the HUD definition of homelessness. These bills would expand eligibility for HUD’s Continuum of Care program to include all families and youth who are poor and “doubled up,” but without providing any additional funding.

By some estimates, this expansion could as much as triple the number of people eligible for HUD’s Continuum of Care.

  • While these families and youth do have housing needs, the vast majority are not literally homeless. If they are literally homeless (cannot stay where they are) they meet the current definition and no change is needed. This extreme surge in eligibility would swamp a system that is already unable to serve people who are literally homeless with people who are have housing problems but are not literally homeless.  As of 2017, 35% of homeless people were unsheltered.
  • There are other federal resources to assist families and youth who have housing needs or are at-risk of homelessness, including those at HUD, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Education. These programs are over-subscribed should be resourced to meet the needs of people who are not literally homeless.

See All Legislation