Homeless Definition Debate Continues in DC

Advocates for Homeless Children Disagree About Who Gets Included

Homeless FamiliesOn February 11, 2012, The Huffington Post , included an article, “Homeless Advocates Divided Over Bill Aimed at Helping Kids,” highlighting the continuing debate around expanding the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) definition of homelessness and who can live in HUD funded subsidized housing. Last week, H.R. 32, legislation that would expand the HUD definition of homelessness moved out of the Financial Services Subcommittee on Insurance, Housing and Community Opportunity.

Advocates on one side of the issues support H.R. 32 feeling that it addresses their concerns about families who lack permanent homes and either live doubled up with friends and relatives or in crowded motel rooms. According to the Department of Education (DOE), since the beginning of the recent recession:

  • The number of homeless children has increased by 38%, almost 1 million; but
  • According to the current HUD definition, only 30% of these children, about 300,000 would be considered homeless.

On the other side, the Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH) and that National Alliance to End Homelessness (the Alliance) oppose the bill. Quoting from the article:

“Our understanding is that this would have a bad impact on the worse-off kids,’ said Steve Berg, an executive for the National Alliance to End Homelessness, ‘kids who are living on the streets and in abandoned buildings and in backs of cars.’” Homeless advocates should devote their energy to getting Congress to enlarge the budget of HUD and other agencies that help the homeless, Berg said.”

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  1. I would like to read more on Kate Kelly policy recommendeations and possibly recommendation on implementation