Committee Expected to Consider Legislation to
Expand “Homelessness” This Summer
The House Financial Services Committee is expected to consider the Homeless Children and Youth Act of 2011 prior to the August recess. The legislation, H.R. 32, was approved by the Financial Services Subcommittee on February 7, 2012.
The bill would expand HUD’s definition of “homelessness” to align with one that the U.S. Department of Education uses. The expanded definition would enable some children living in “doubled up” situations to receive benefits under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act.
Some advocates remain concerned that without additional funding the bill would dilute existing resources intended to serve people experiencing homelessness, which would result in the households in the most need of help receiving assistance.
The National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) takes the position that the motivation behind H.R. 32 is positive, but in the absence of additional resources to serve the people who would be made newly eligible for HUD homeless services, simply expanding the definition of who is homeless does not offer meaningful reform.
Meanwhile, HUD is still implementing the HEARTH Act, enacted in 2009.